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The problem is that achievement and qualification for employment should be reward enough - not to mention the personal satisfaction of advancement and achievement. They are the true incentives, not market-distorting subsidies.

If you go for a degree and need a financial inducement in order to work hard, then you shouldnt be in University.

If someone has to be paid to incentivise them to work to get a good degree, and thus improve their future employment prospects, then they shouldn't be at any university.

Beyond the objection above, the whole proposal is riddled with flaws. Affluent institutions, for instance, would find this far less of a driver against grade inflation that poorer universities.

If encouraging universitities to hand out cash prizes is Johnson's best idea for stopping the devaluation of degrees, then we need a new Higher Education spokesman.

The power of money to motivate is greatly overestimated. If Boris can provide a sense of achievement to pupils who succeed so that more want to do so, that would be good.

For anyone to get any sense of achievement out of education, the national curriculum should be abolished. Schools and universities should be free to set their own standards and curricula.

Then the teachers would believe in what they were teaching, and their enthusiasm and commitment would communicate directly to the students.

The way to get education working is to get rid of outside intervention from government completely. Government has eroded the motivation of educators, and it is time for government to get the f*** out of it.

Boris is not showing soundness of judgement. If he thinks successful businesses motivate with money, he is wrong. Surely his time at the Spectator should have taught him that independence of mind, the opportunity to create ideas and to work alongside dedicated and interested people is the larger part of motivation to achieve.

Money is never as big a player as bureaucrats and governments wish it was. In the last ten years, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have proved it. They've doubled the cost of government from £800 million a day to approaching £1.6 billion a day and there is literally nothing to show for it. Throwing money into a negative situation only makes the it worse.

Boris is no doubt a great motivator to work alongside, but as yet he clearly has not found the way how to convert his creative mind into a managerial one. But then if he did, he wouldn't be able to fill the media with his charming gaffes every fortnight. Sadly being interesting and exciting and getting things to work are not often compatible.

This is a bad idea Boris.

The only part of this initiative that I approve of is the limiting of 1st class degrees. The ridiculous quota of 50% of students in university is devaluing the degrees worth in society so that business cannot hire those who are genuinely top performers; comparable to how universities find it hard to pick the best students due to the countless masses with three or more “A”s.

In my opinion the funding mechanisms in place are not only adequate for any students, they’re too ample (but that’s another matter).

Increase the value of the degree by ensuring that the education system is truly meritocratic; the “carrot and stick” approach utilised only serves to increase the amount of directionless individuals studying for degrees based on short term cash incentive rather than those “high achievers” who generally have long term visions which ensure the tax payers money isn’t wasted.

If you want fewer first class degrees Boris then make policies to limit the number of unmotivated students getting into university, then our standards wouldn’t drop or isn't that very New Conservative?

read frank chalk on education, generally, is my advice:


very illuminating

I think Blair should remember the "Bell Curve" It is congentally impossible for 50% of students to get a first. Blair should go read up on Mendl - the monk with the sweetpeas. Go figure Tony!!! Of course one can improve on what nature and your inheritance/genes has dished out by nurture, but you will never make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Better to make sure the sow did a really good job of being a sow.

I was offered a cash reward for getting a 1st by my future employer. It didn't make me try any harder. As I expected I ended up with a 2:1 because that was all I needed to keep my job, which was a far greater incentive. Plus I doubt I'd have got a 1st even if I tried extra-hard. Still, what applies to me may not necessarily apply to others.

Of course one can improve on what nature and your inheritance/genes has dished out by nurture, but you will never make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Better to make sure the sow did a really good job of being a sow.

Or, as the old saying goes, 'We can't all be chiefs, some of us have got to be indians'

I disagree with 50% in HE, it's too high. 15% as we had before the polys expanded in the early 90's was a little low, but 50% is too much. I'm not aware if reducing that to say 40% or even a third is Tory policy, though.

Can we stop giving money to students who do well in school, or even just turn up to school like this government does. The reward should be in the acquisition of the qualification.

I believe that scrapping the arbitrary 50% target was part of the last general election manifesto.

As WS Gilbert says in 'The Gondoliers'~'when everyone is somebody then no ione's anybody' As true now with relevance to today's Higher Education situation as it was in 1889.

People's rewards for their good grades is the jobs and higher pay they get at the end of it, not only that but there is a risk that people might needlessly take exams as a means of obtaining money when maybe an academic line might not be right for them.

There shouldn't be any targets for numbers taking degrees or passing degrees, the questions should be set to a level considered a desirable standard and a fixed system of passing people should be used - it's not about being nice to people and having certain numbers, it's about producing people who are of a suitable standard to boost the British economy and improve the cultural standard.

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