Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Going, going, go-

I came across this on Facebook.

And I decided to share it, and leave a comment. Which stretched to 422 words. Which is a little over what FB comment fields can accommodate.

So here I go again. Grr.

Sixth-formers trying to hold on to the possibility of a university education. These people are smart enough to recognise that they're being lined up to be Britain's Lost Generation. Let's see, now...

So your parents have brought you up, made sure you got an education, forked out for school uniforms and school trips, been to the parents' meetings after work, nagged you about homework, and paid all their contributions to the national purse.

Or they haven't, or your school's in special measures, or something else, and it's all down to you - perhaps it's always been down to you.

And you've done all the studying, coursework, homework and revision to get the right grades at GCSE, in order to spend two years slogging at A Level or IB coursework, shifting inhuman levels of homework, and trying to fit in community service and creative or sporting activities because university admissions personnel are looking for 'rounded' character. Oh, and have a life.

Or you've gone the long way round, and worked damn hard to catch up on lost opportunity through evening classes; which meant fitting most of the above around the day job, or the family.

And you've always known that there are no student grants anymore, so going to university will mean overdrafts, credit card debt, part-time jobs and summer jobs, and having that debt hanging over you until, finally, just when you're earning enough to be able to afford decent accommodation, have a family of your own and
start saving for your own children's future, or get on a pension scheme for your retirement, like the responsible, self-reliant citizen you will one day be, and which Conservatives so admire - you become liable for the repayment of your university debt. Maybe you hadn't realised all of that, but it's coming to you now...

You almost wonder if it's worth it.

And NOW they put the fees up.

Your parents would love to help, but they're already fully stretched. Oh, and the company's cutting back, and the public sector's shedding surplus staff, so we're very sorry but.....

And jobs for schoolkids with no qualifications or experience...?

And they're 'rationalising' benefits to help you build moral fibre and a Big Society.

These poor kids. When the slog pays off, first they've got the great British press declaring that A Levels aren't worth the paper they're written on (Well they have to find something to write about in August.).

Then they've got the great British government gleefully (.... ok, as a nod towards objective analysis, I'm prepared to moderate that to ...... complacently... smugly... Sod it! I remember the front benchers' response to the October Budget - MAKE THAT "GLEEFULLY"!!!!!) yanking up the fees and dangling a university education out of reach of anyone who hasn't got a foursquare stack of banknotes to stand on.

We know that Oxford and Cambridge, centres of excellence and prestige, and longtime bastions of the elite, are working to meet the previous government's targets regarding the percentage of admissions from state schools. Working, in fact, to identify and encourage candidates who have overcome disadvantage and deprivation to get as far as the Oxbridge admissions process.


How many people from average-income families, boys and girls who have the talent and character to benefit from higher education, and later pour their knowledge and skills back into the national exchequer, will now look at a university place - anywhere - the way many of my parents' generation did: It's a wonderful idea, but not for the likes of us.

Hilaire Belloc (a century ago):

The accursed power which stands on Privilege  
(And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)  
Broke and Democracy resumed her reign: 
(Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne)

So the students are angry? And sixth-formers are getting the bus down to London? 

Well, DUH!!

1 comment:

Mme Cyn said...

I understand your frustration, but in the US anyway, it's always been like that. Even in the cheap, over crowded state universities (where you go if you can't get into or can't afford a better school, or, to be fair, because it's an OK education and it's local), most kids still go into debt to get a degree. The best and brightest chase down scholarships -- surely the UK unis have a similar system?