Posted: December 2010
Street violence has undermined the cause of students protesting against tuition fees. This is a tragedy because their principle is just and right.
There are several definitions of a civil and civilized society. Whichever philosophy you plump for, it seems axiomatic that a big part of the quality of a society can be measured by how well it educates the young and how well it looks after the elderly and sick.
Tuition fees are an abomination because the effect they have is to educate the children from the wealthiest families and not the children who are the most talented. There are those who will apply all sorts of arguments as to why this need not be so and those arguments will sound logical. But the stark reality is that well-off middle class families will pay for their kids to go to university and poor families will not be able to do so without severe hardship, and that deters the talented poor from taking advantage of higher education.
There are, of course, innumerable associated issues. Apply Occam’s Razor: whatever the Government do, it should enable the very best to get into higher education.
Supporting four times the number of universities as currently exist is ludicrously unnecessary; and I see nothing wrong with interviews which take into account circumstances as well as results and developed intellect. If you are a sassy kid from an inner city with 2 As and a B, perhaps you should be at Oxford instead of the Old Etonian consummate bluffer with 3 As. Bit of a generalization, but you catch my gist…
Not to make higher education easily (note: easily) available to the best of our children, whatever their background, is lunacy. It is enraging that a government can have such little regard for the welfare of future generations – it is a disaster for impecunious talented individuals and for the collective health of the country.
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