Is University Really Worth It? review – not when students are left starving

 In News

This bleak, eye-opening film finds mass strikes, gobsmacking whistleblower lecturers and med students forced to survive on food rations of £10 a week. Higher education is failing so many

The comedian Geoff Norcott has a dilemma: should he be saving money so his son, “Little Geoff”, can go to university when the time comes, or should he buy a new car now? The conceit may be thin, and you can see the payoff coming, but Is University Really Worth It? is far more interesting than this flimsy framework. Norcott used to be a secondary school teacher, and he explains that in his time, he bought into the New Labour “education, education, education” doctrine wholesale, encouraging countless students to apply to university. Now, amid budget cuts, strike action, punitive fees and the growing corporatisation of learning, he wonders if he would say the same today.

In order to find out whether a degree for Little Geoff would be “a good investment” – and such corporate, fiscal language is part of the problem, it soon becomes apparent – Norcott visits universities around the UK, all of which highlight one of the many issues students and institutions are facing. He spends time in Brighton and goes on a protest with University of Sussex students, who are marching against campus closures and staff redundancies. You can see his discomfort. He cringes and squirms, admitting that he is not really a protest guy.

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