Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Gutting Britain's Education System

I used to think that the Labour party was deliberately attacking the higher education system in the UK. One of their first acts upon being elected into power in 1997 was to abolish the student grant, favouring loans instead and gifting graduates from low income families with £15-20K of debt before they'd even stepped into their professional career. The thing that galled me about how that was announced at the time was when this was credited as an 'enabler' for students from low income families. I come from a low income family, and unless your degree course is conveyor-belt in/out, there's a very good chance that you could leave university with nothing but debt before your course is over. By its final year, my course was less than a third of the size of the first.

Now, 'Lord' Mandleson, our current Business Secretary, is slashing budgets for higher education, and at the same time asking universities to preserve standards of education. I don't know how his brain works, but when the education system has been getting systematically destroyed by 'efficiency savings' for ten years, there simply isn't that much slack. In addition, he'd like this to be accomplished in part by reducing three year degrees to two years 'as a way of easing the funding crisis'! Knocking a third off degree times will result in wonderfully incapable graduates, and weaken the value of the system as a whole.

How about some honest investment? You know, where you put money into something and reap the rewards in the future? Like when your graduates get higher paying jobs as a result of being better educated, and then pay higher taxes as a result?

As I began, I used to think that the Labour government was attacking higher education. Now I just think they're a mob of self-interested, incompetent fraudsters who've lost all touch with the real world.

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