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Degrees must give students the right skills, warns OECD

UK degree courses must equip students with better and more relevant skills for employment, to ensure that fewer graduates end up in jobs that don’t require a degree, according to the OECD.

Speaking at the launch of the Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators report on 11 September, OECD director for skills and education Andreas Schleicher said that too many degrees did not give graduates the skills they need for work. According to the report, 28 per cent of university graduates in England were working in jobs that did not require a degree in 2012, compared with 14 per cent on average across OECD countries.

Schleicher stressed that the economy was not to blame. “The question in our view is more about, how can we ensure that every university degree also gives young people the kind of skills that they have paid for? Because people actually incur a high cost, and some of the high non-repayment rate of loans may be simply to do with the fact that their education wasn’t as great as people expected and paid for; therefore they don’t get the salaries and cannot pay back the loans,” Schleicher said at the launch.

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