[DWJ] Howard and Quentin for Kait

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Dec 23 19:31:42 EST 2007


Sally wrote:

>Quentin, who also teaches literature at the
>poly (which seems to be a kind of college).

A poly is short for a polytechnical college, and those were what they
created when they reorganised the previous places where folk went who
wanted to learn things, but didn't get into universities or wanted to study
things universities didn't teach.  I think the idea was that universities
were for the academically inclined, technical colleges were for people who
wanted to learn practical things (ie electronical and such trades), teacher
training colleges were for people who wanted to be teachers, catering
colleges were for people who wanted to cook, and so on.  When techs became
infra-dig they amalgamated several of the colleges and changed the name to
poly; then that too became infra-dig so they renamed the polys and called
them universities.  This leads to there being two universities in the same
town, quite often.  (I think Birmingham has three, maybe more.)

Polys didn't offer degrees, I think, when they started; I think that
colleges offered 'licensiates' instead (certainly what is now the
University of Buckingham but started out as 'the University College at
Buckingham' and had no University Charter did so, and its vice-chancellor
after Beloff left sweated blood because the then-government didn't support
them the way Thatcher had, and didn't think they were a university really,
and had to be persuaded to grant them a charter and let them offer degrees)
-- or 'certificates' in non-academic subjects.  Now they are all
universities and offer degrees, sometimes in such academic subjects as
'tourism' -- I kid you not, I have seen that advertised on the outside of a
building as being one of the subjects taught there, but it didn't say
whether you were taught how to to *be* a tourist or taught how to deal with
tourists.

Minnow (B.A. in Applied Flyfishing...)





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