Today: Expensive to Educate

26 Oct

I have just returned from an emergency meeting set by my students union, as a comittee member and society executive, i am constitutionally required to attend, so i potted along to have a listen to what Cardiff Students Union plans to do in spite of all the cuts that Higher Education is to face in the next few years.

I was expecting to listen to inspirational speeches about how the union will survive in these hard times, and how we’ll all have to tighten our belts – much the resolve of the UK population to date, but i was surprised as to what i read on the agenda, and heard from the floor.

Now without going into all the nitty gritty of the proposals, i’ll sum it up for everyone:

Cardiff University Students Union WILL be fighting aginst the rise in tuition fees, and the cuts to higher education

We heard many points from the floor, the risk of how the UK will become a heirachy system based on cost -and not education (comparable to the system implemented in the USA), how the union is going to put the points of view of their members across (lobying, protests, student council discussions, vice chancellor addresses) among other defying and quite impressive tasks.

One point that was brought up from the floor, was in support of the fee rises. Now everyone is entitled to their opinion so i’m going to say mine now: What he said was elitest, wrong and just plain ignorant.

How anybody can suggest that allowing universities to set the grade of their own tuition fees, and then comparing this fact to how ‘good’ their degrees are? Rubbish.

As was also pointed out, in comparison to the American universities, a Harvard education is just as good as any other education. Except because you have to fork out about $40k a year for your education there, it minimises the people applying, minimises the numbers and hence people seem to have 1 on 1 conversations with their lecturers – That’s all well and good, but surely someone who gets the same grade in a class of 200 as one in a class of 20 should be considered first?

Allowing universities to set themselves above the rest by having the higher fees is plain ridiculous. It won’t make them any better, and it sure won’t attract the students to join them.

A motion was rejected (well an ammendment within a motion) to say that we, as a student union, reject all fees, and campaign for zero tuition fees, and that we, as students should be paid to come to university (the latter, another point brought up by the floor) – Then general public already see us students as living off the system, if we start shouting for zero fees, surely we’ll be looking like spoilts brats? I’m willing to pay SOME fees, the university has to survive after all.

i’m against these rises because it will throw a huge amount of the coming generation into debt, causing them to save more, causing shops to not sell alot (see where i’m going with this?), causing a nother dip of a recession.

There is a compromise here. I’m sure of it. The government SHOULD and WILL hear the students voices, saying they’ll raise the fees and we can pay back after uni is all well and good when you’re on £250k a year (Mr Prime minister), and when they had state funded education at a high level – yes they had to pay upfront an amount of money, but nothing on the scale that I as a graduate next year will have to start paying off.

There is a protest march on November 10th for all students to protest against the rise in tuition fees.

We aren’t wanting to live off the state, we are trying to make a life for us to beable to NOT live off it. Please support our cause.

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9 Responses to “Today: Expensive to Educate”

  1. Sam Coates 26/10/2010 at 22:06 #

    Hey,

    Interesting to see what people thought about the whole affair. That guy’s pro-fees speech got me really riled up, and you may have noticed!

    Just thought I’d say that the amendment did not call for us to be paid to go university, just that the cost of teaching higher education be paid by the state, as opposed to living expenses. I probably should have made that clear in the summation!

    Sam

    • harriparf 26/10/2010 at 22:11 #

      I think the meeting went on too long for anyone to really understand the amendment as well, and as we weren’t given the proposals before the meeting we couldn’t exactly look it over and understand it before hand!

      The point where i said we should be paid to go to university was picking up from someone else’s point – going back to edit it now! But i was a little confused by what you thought the state should pay, but now i get it 🙂 thanks!
      Harri

  2. Ed Mason 26/10/2010 at 22:41 #

    Personally, I don’t think that students calling for no fees will look like us looking like spoilt brats any more than us calling for no rise in tuition fees does. When the government’s argument is basically that rising tuition fees is “necessary” and “fair”, is the effect of protesting against it not the same? As someone else said from the floor, in negotiations we should start from what we actually believe and work from that, instead of watering down our activism for other people’s benefit.

    • harriparf 26/10/2010 at 22:47 #

      Ed, You are right in the sense we should start from what we belive in and work up from there, but i don’t think my point suggests we are watering down any activism – my personal view is to show them that yes we do understand there needs to be cuts, but should this result in an increase in fees? or the fact there should be no fees at all? I PERSONALLY think that it makes us look incredibly demanding and not reasonable. But i do accept your point about starting from what we believe in,

      • Ed Mason 27/10/2010 at 01:50 #

        Well, I actually don’t understand that there “need to be” cuts. Governments having deficits isn’t exactly an unusual event, and the UK has handled past deficits extremely well whilst increasing public spending – 1945 comes to mind, when despite a massive deficit we managed to create the NHS. Need I say much more?

        Indeed, the amendment put to the EMM made clear that the abolition of fees should be funded through direct taxation, which if raised in a genuinely fair manner (e.g. taxing people in proportion to their wealth) would fund student grants very easily, and without the need for such savage cuts to Higher Education as are planned.

        The only justifiable reason I can think of for not taking such an approach is if people do actually think that tuition fees are a good thing. Except that no-one who spoke in opposition to the amendment actually said that – they all missed the point and talked about it being “pie-in-the-sky” (despite clear policy in the amendment itself, which was never argued against) and “not good for negotiation” (which makes absolutely no sense, for reasons I mentioned in my first post). Such a shame, really. Oh well…

  3. Your Mum 26/10/2010 at 22:56 #

    You should use a spell checker before you publish this. Also, you might want to check what the PM earns. It’s not 250k. I think you’re the ignorant one.

    • harriparf 26/10/2010 at 23:05 #

      A spell checker I should have – It was a quick one i whacked out and got a bit trigger happy with the ‘post’ button. PM earnings i am going on what Tony Blair earnt in his years (averaged) at office, as I don’t count Gordon Brown as a PM as he wasn’t voted in, and David Cameron hasn’t been in office long enough for me to comment. As for me being the ignorant one – your perogative. These are my opinions stated here, but I guess if you can’t leave your name then you aren’t brave enough to have your own opinion accepted.

  4. Euan 09/11/2010 at 09:48 #

    You’ve not actually said why the government should be paying anything towards university fees? Is tertiary education a fundamental right these days? The government should only be responsible for the things we ALL need i.e Secondary education, health, security, justice and ensuring the country remains successful in this highly competitive world. Which would of course mean subsidising certain university courses and the people who study these course. Medicine springs to mind as the obvious one.
    The private sector will then be forced into providing bursaries to students in order to fill their skills gap.
    Too many students these days are wasting their time studying degrees that are of no use in the “real” world and that will only increase if you make University cheaper.
    Life is not fair, not everybody is dealt an easy hand, but in the UK you have it better than most. People need to stop relying on the state to do everything for them. If you are intelligent enough and work hard enough you will succeed in life.

    • harriparf 09/11/2010 at 16:31 #

      I am not relying on the state. I just believe that since i have made the choice to come to university, to better my education, to better my chances in the working world, to better support myself and NOT live off the state, that i and those at university should be subjected to SUCH a high increase in fees.

      I dislike the cost of my fees at the moment, but i understand that to fund what i see as an essential step in MY education and employability, that it is necessary.

      You can’t put a price on education. but the price can and will turn you off it if LEA’s don’t fancy providing a loan to cover the fees.

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