Wednesday, 8 December 2010
I can see the reasoning for graduates paying part of the cost of their education and I am not a denier of the private benefit that is received by students. However I believe that higher education should be in a way that shares the cost of education between the individual and society as a whole*. Of course part of what the media haven't really focused on (because I guess a few vandals are more interesting than figures) in the debate is that teaching grants to Universities are being cut by 80%. That seems like a crazy amount to me, even the most deficit obsessed politician isn't proposing that for any other area I can think of.
It was with this in mind that I was happy to go along to the march to Rob Wilson's office supporting a petition collected by pupils from Reading schools. They said they had taken just two days to get 900 signatures - impressive by any standards! Although of course Rob Wilson wasn't there we had hoped a member of his staff would be to collect the petition but mysteriously not only was the door locked and no-one was home but the usual Conservative party posters had been removed from the window! It didn't dampen spirits though and it was a cheerful, noisy march.
*Incidentally I also do have problems with the current system set up by my own party by which a graduate going into a 'typical' graduate job like teaching can be paying back their debts over decades while a city trader pays back very quickly. I hope that we agree a better policy where those who earn more after graduation pay more.