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Comment: A Bedfordshire University student's response to the Daily Mail

2nd March 2012

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If you've been keeping up with the news lately, you'll have seen that the University of Bedfordshire and its Vice Chancellor Professor Les Ebdon has been getting a severe bashing from many newspapers. However, one article in particular has really annoyed me, and fellow students, which was published in the Daily Mail on 25th February

Daily MailFirstly, the Daily Mail has got it wrong. In the article, it gives a false portrayal of what the university is like and the types of courses it offers. Breastfeeding and Carnival Arts are definitely not degrees offered by the University of Bedfordshire, I can assure you. As a trainee journalist myself, this paper really isn't setting me a good example about the importance of getting the facts right.

Not only is there this severe inaccuracy, but there's also a damnation of unusual, but extremely successful, degrees that are offered. What’s wrong with a university offering courses such as Beauty Therapy as a degree anyway? It's a skill that can, in turn, give an individual the skills needed to start their own lucrative business and make a living. I lived with a person who did a Specialist Make Up degree, last year, and what they could do was amazing. Has the Daily Mail not heard of the television, film and theatre industry that only employ the very best make up designers for all of their specialist make up effects? Or what about them modelling agencies that employ people educated in the ways of beauty to glamour people up? It takes a great deal of skill, time, learning and practice and I can definitely tell you that my friend will be in line for a job when she graduates with her Specialist Make Up degree. 

If you want to criticise degrees, what about the ridiculous ones that are offered in other universities around the world that really have no job prospects attached to them. For example, I myself am a fan of Harry Potter, but what good would doing a degree in it be for me? Yes, I might be an expert on the same level as J. K. Rowling, but what job would that get me? The Daily Mail states that our degrees aren't up to scratch, but do you consider Psychology, Journalism, Computer Science, Social Work and Sports Therapy, to name but a few, to be “Mickey Mouse” degrees? No, I thought not. 

Just because we are not considered a top university, it doesn’t mean that the students who attend it aren’t as intelligent as those who go to Oxford and Cambridge. I personally feel that to be at university, at all, shows that you are amongst the elite of youth and therefore qualify as an educated individual. Aren’t we told when we’re younger to aim for university as it’s our best chance at getting a good job and having a better life? How many of you reading this now was encouraged by your school/college and parents that is was the right path to take? Surely if a university was that bad they wouldn’t be allowed to teach in the first place? So, Daily Mail, I'll think you'll find that my university is in fact more than satisfactory. 

I challenge anyone who reads this to tell me that because I attend the University of Bedfordshire, a lesser, well-know place, I am less intelligent than someone who attends another, well-known establishment. In fact, I challenge you to go and degrade Gemma Hunt, a successful TV presenter who graduated from the University of Bedfordshire or Maggie Alphonsi who is the Vice Captain of the Women's England Rugby team just because of the place that they chose to study.

I am proud of the fact that the University of Bedfordshire was my first choice on my UCAS application and if it wasn’t for them being one of the very few universities offering Magazine Journalism as a BA degree, I wouldn’t be studying for a job, and career, that I know I am going to be happy with. So, to the Daily Mail and anyone who believes them I say this to you: a university education is one that few people are lucky to have in this world. Let's make the most of it and stop insulting perfectly good institutions who are moulding the youth of today to be the future of tomorrow, because one day we'll be running the newspapers that you're slating us in. 

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