I have been travelling around the UK countryside visiting academic institutions over the past six months. I have made many observations during that time, and feel it is time to share some of them.
Tutors are stretched, in some cases to breaking point, which leaves me aghast that they are able to give the level of tuition that they provide. With some serious cuts in funding being introduced the quality of tuition and courses has to suffer.
Almost every tutor I have met is passionate about what they do and have an incredible thirst to see their students excel. Yet academia is often given a bad press by the industry. I think the wrong people are being blamed. Is it truly the fault of academia that they are under-resourced? Indeed not, it's that of the funding bodies. Some of the CG related courses may be slightly miss-directed; some of the kit used may be slightly questionable, such as using Macs in a games course... Show me a games company that uses Macs! Some VFX courses are not even run using Maya, the industry standard software. But overall, tutors work very hard to provide as good an education as they can within stringent budget constraints.
With the throughput of numbers and all the budgetary restrictions I do not envy the position the UK HE's are in. I believe in the importance of higher education, there are life lessons that cannot be taught anywhere else but are the students capable of getting work straight out of their education? Of course some will get work but it saddens me to see talent not realised because of a fundamental lack of resource.
Somewhat ironically, there seems to be enough money going around funding research, I have been witness to many an expensive 'box of something' sitting in rooms un-touched, whereas investment in the students seems to be secondary.
This is a massive topic, and I would be interested to hear the views of students and tutors alike.