Who Can Afford to be Educated Now? by Lynne Mashhadi 09/12/2010
Is education only for the rich now? Students in Plymouth could end up paying tuition fees of more than 7,000 pounds under government plans to raise charges.
This huge fee rise is forecast on the day that students from Plymouth travel to London. There they will join the national protest outside Parliament at the massive rise in tuition fees. The increase, which is calculated by the University and College Union, I find truly shocking.
Education for the Rich?
Is higher education in England to be reserved for the rich now and what will this do to social mobility?
We've always prided ourselves on being a country which, while it does have a class system, allows upward mobility. The range of accents heard on television nowadays, which once would have been unheard of, is a sign that it's possible to go from almost any background to a good career.
Or, at least, it used to be possible. Will eighteen year olds from poor backgrounds, faced with a potential debt of 21,000 pounds, really think that University is an option? I suspect that poorer students will now think twice, if not thrice, before opting for a University career.
A Lifetime of Debt
A debt of this size could take them almost a lifetime to pay back for some students. There is no guarantee that a degree automatically guarantees a well paid job, because the best educated people are not always the best paid!
However, a degree does guarantee a population of people who have certain skills, an attitude of being willing to learn, knowing how to learn and the confidence to take on new tasks, challenges and careers.
With an ageing population, do we want our younger generation to be less confident, and less skilled? How will the taxes of an uneducated generation pay for an ever-growing retired generation?
My history degree did not mean that I walked into a well-paid job, because I graduated in a recession. But my degree did give me a lot of confidence, written and oral skills, and the ability to research and learn about any subject that I was challenged with.
Would I be writing this blog if I didn't have my degree? Probably not. Would I have gone to University if I'd been faced with tuition fees of 7000 pounds a year? Probably not.
The Right to be Educated
Education should not be reserved for the rich. Everyone should have the right to a free education, and the whole country benefits from a confident, articulate and skilled workforce.
We've seen the protests on the news, so we know what students think about the rise in tuition fees. But what do the rest of the population think about it? Do you believe that everyone from every class and background should be able to improve themselves?
Lynne has lived in Plymouth for nearly 20 years, and wouldn't live anywhere else. Lynne was born in the South East, but her mother and maternal grandparents were all born and raised in Plymouth.
The Plymouth Blog is where Lynne talks about things that are happening in Plymouth and how they affect the people who live here. She's lived in Luton, London, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Cardiff and Bristol, but chose to come and live in Plymouth over 20 years ago, because she saw what a great place it is.
Everything she says here is her opinion, so feel free to agree or disagree with her views! You can add your comments, using the form below.
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