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UK Minister Jo Johnson: speech to UniversitiesUK annual conference

A patently absurd proposition.

The idea that higher education provides real and significant benefits is consistent with what we hear from employers across the country: that the economy of the future will continue to require graduates, and lots of them.

The steady rise in the level of formal qualifications held by those in employment does not simply reflect qualification inflation caused by large increases in the supply of graduates, as Pessimists maintain.

It is happening as a result of more fundamental changes in the occupational structure of the UK as a knowledge economy. Some 1.8 million new jobs will be created between 2014 and 2024, and 70% of them will be in the occupations most likely to employ graduates

What is more, international comparisons confirm we are on the right track.

Only 42 per cent of young people in the UK are expected to graduate from university in their lifetime, according to the OECD, which is lower than the average of 45 per cent, and significantly lower than Japan at 58 per cent, the US at 53 per cent and New Zealand at 58 per cent.

The idea that cutting numbers of people with higher levels of education is the route to a more competitive economy simply does not stand up to scrutiny.  Full Speech

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