Posts Tagged ‘Students’

Student Tuition Fees, whats the big (bad?) deal?

December 12, 2010

Students and money. These are two words that have to be used very carefully in the same sentence.
Students, supposedly have no money, and get very upset if you try to take money from them.

One of the things which could be argued over the past few months is that students are amongst the most selfish people that we have in the UK, with self interest reigning supreme. Another person could just as easily argue that these are one of the few groups of people in society today who are not only willing to stand up for themselves, but also for the (mostly poorer) people of the nation, and good on them for doing so.
It’s a tough debate to have, as emotions seem to run high, and in some cases pure lack of emotional intelligence on the student’s part means that most grown up arguments result in abuse slinging (or fire extinguisher slinging) as the case may be.
So… Why are the students upset?
Their grievances’ are threefold, I would argue these are:
They are upset that tuition fees are rising (obviously)
They are furious that they have been “betrayed” (I will analyse this soon) by the Liberal Democrats, and
They are upset that there are cuts throughout wider society as a whole.
All 3 of these could be seen as logical grievances’, however, you can kick down 10 sand castles in the time it takes for you to build just one. None of the students seem to be offering a logical solution to their issues.
Does the state need a well educated workforce? Unquestionably. Will that workforce exist if tuition fees rise? I would argue so.
It can easily be argued that a well educated workforce is a happier, more productive workforce, however (and here is where I can see a few of you sticking a finger up to me) I would argue that if the degrees which this “well educated workforce” are committing themselves to are degrees such as home economics or media studies, then we may not in fact, have a well educated workforce after all.
It is easily arguable that you will earn a lot more in the future as a result of university education, and if you will not, then why go to university in the first place?

It could also, easily be argued that simply, far too many people go to university at the moment and the state can not afford it… But try telling that to the students, who feel that education is a “right.”
Education is a right, but rights are not always free, and it is subjective. In the UK, I would argue till the cows come home that it is a right to have free education up till the age of 16, where we can all get a comprehensive education in a wide area of topics, and if you don’t want that education, tough you have to have it. Free education up to the point of 18 I would also argue is very important, but I do not feel university is the same, and here is why?
One of the main things that the students have said is a reason for why tuition fees should not rise, or in many cases should be abolished is because it aids social mobility. University does aid social mobility, but these fee raises will not stop that. The fees are more flexible than ever and I would argue that, as is often the case with political reform over the past 15 years, it is the middle class who will foot the bill.
The absence of logic seems clear in the students minds, but the politicians could be accused of the same. Several economic analysts have predicted that there will be no real financial benefits to this plan which will be realised within the next 5 years. The government could also be accused of shifting public sector debt over to the private sector (students).
This is going to be a topic that I will return to, and as this is a blog, it will be up to date. This is just an overview of the scenario for now, I will be going into each of the main points in more depth over the coming weeks.