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Tuition fees - Ed's journal
Tuition fees
In evolutionary terms, 10,000 years isn't very long. A human of that time, genetically would be near indistinguishable from humans of today. (They's be different in appearance, but that's far more related to quality of life).

But over the this period of time - even over the last hundred years - the human race has achieved things that would be near miraculous to the 10,000 year old man.

Why is this? It's not evolutionary, because we haven't evolved particularly. It's education that's made the difference. The process of learning, and passing on knowledge to future generations, for them to build upon and not have to rediscover everything from scratch. Civilisation itself would not exist, if a generation could not pass on wisdom to the next.

Which is why I find myself confounded and somewhat outraged by the the news today: That we're looking at University tuition fees increasting to ~£7000/year.

I don't think people should be paying for the privilege of becoming educated. An educated citizen is fundamentally worth more to the country than an uneducated one - engineers, doctors, teachers, scientists, architects... are all professions that over their life span do more to enhance the country than street sweepers, shop assistants, and big brother stars. Quality of life, and indeed freedom itself is driven by education. Each person at the leading edge of creativity generates employment - an architect is the catalyst for
numerous jobs in the construction industry. A doctor improves the quality of life for hundreds, if not thousands of people each year.

And above all, the people in the higher demand jobs, are also paying more tax throughout their working life. Oh they make the argument that it's fine to be charged more for your education, because over your working life span, you'll earn more. But however you cut it, to someone who's 18, and thinking about whether they want to go to University, a thousand pounds is a lot of money. £30,000 is an inconcievably huge amount of money. But that's fine - they'll earn more, and pay more tax, right? Isn't that the point of a taxation system, that is a percentage? Or even a taxation system that taxes at higher rates the higher your payscale goes?

I had the luxury of my parents supporting me through University. I won't say it's impossible for people to do well at University without that support, but it makes is one hell of a lot harder. I had the luxury of supportive parents, where others do not. And I think everyone deserves the right to a better future.

I'm not going to dispute that the Universitys want more money. I'm not going to dispute that they might indeed _need_ more money, to deliver their services.

But what I'm saying is that this is one of the things that benefits everyone in the country, and is something that should be financed by the tax payer. We should shouldn't be building walls in front of people who want to learn, in the form of tens of thousand pounds of debt once they finish university - if anything we should be doing the opposite - paying those that genuinely want to learn and improve themselves, and the world around them. A livable wage, if not a good one. Far better to have people doing that, than just claiming unemployment benefit.

A democracy simply doesn't work when built upon ignorance. The 'court of public opinion' is an irrational and self serving one.

Ignorance is a form of slavery. Expensive education is a form of indenture. Let's stop with the mortgaging of future generations, for our own ends.
7 comments or Leave a comment
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: March 17th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
What Annoys me about "tuition fees" is that tax rates haven't gone down to reflect the fact that we are no longer "charging" the state account for these fees. Instead the government has appropriated and frittered away these funds.

I do not understand how a government which is opposed to the unethical practise of selective schooling is backing this the ultimate in educational selection.

My dad always said that the government investing in the education of its people meant that it had people to tax for future generations. The more people have a degree the better paid jobs they get the more tax they pay... etc...

but then our government has run us into recession.. so i am not really all surprised that the current false economy is being upheld
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: March 17th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
And don't forget that it was this government who, having received a free university education (among other things) to get to the positions that they are now in, pulled the ladder to success up after themselves by introducing tution fees not 12 months after being voted into power by an electorate who believed them to be a more equal and progessive force than the incumbant Tories!
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: March 17th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Couldn't agree more.
An English friend of mine recently moved to Denmark, where he discovered that the Danish Government would pay for him to attend a part-time university course due to him being an EU citizen. The UK government would pay nothing in his own country! Sometimes I think it's almost as if this government don't want its people to be well-educated and think for themselves, but then why would any government want something like that...?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: March 17th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Indeed. I mean, when you've a population who vote based upon what the most recent tabloid told them, surely that's truly effective democracy.
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: March 17th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's just fucking terrifying!
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: March 18th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Hear hear!
jorune From: jorune Date: March 18th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Arguably the comparative advantages the UK has in Design, Finance and Advertising are the accumulated benefits of a low cost approach to consumers of Education. It has been one of the distinguishing factors in the national brand.

Paying for higher education is a difficult balancing act. You want the best universities because the trade in foreign students is lucrative. You want to increase access to university for those portions of society you have not been traditional consumers. Who will pay? The govt has maxed out the national credit card for many years to come. 'A balance between the consumer and govt needs to be struck' seems an obvious solution yet we are moving towards a period of history where an aging population will shift the electoral advantage to older people who would foot the bill. Will they continue to be eager to pay for the young when they are demanding more spending on health/social security. Ugly thing the pensions crisis.
7 comments or Leave a comment