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Free education leads to a free society

Jan 25 2008 11:47
Matty Hoban
Matty Hoban calls for a return to free education, rather than lumbering the poorest students with debt.
Matty Hoban

In the run up to the 1997 general election, Tony Blair promised that the new Labour/New Labour government would be about three things; the now famous, ?Education, education, education!? We now know with the benefit of hindsight that he was really promoting arbitrary targets alongside part privatisation of schools. The same sort of hatchet job has been applied to university and higher education funding where rarely the student or institution is satisfied. With the Union asking for student consultation with regards to their future policy on higher education funding (through the online survey), big questions and easy solutions are thrown about. I am personally for free education, and luckily due to my background I enjoy not having to pay tuition fees. However, I have witnessed first hand people struggling to pay tuition fees and the financial uncertainties it brings.

Aside from my ideological viewpoint that education should be free and readily available to all, I see the system as inherently hypocritical. New Labour set the now infamous target of fifty percent of school leavers to attend university. Through this they immediately aligned themselves with university admissions and ideas of wider availability. However, at the same time they present a cheque as a solution to the funding implications. The main difficulty I have is the fact that those who suffer most from the tuition fees are the lower middle classes whose income lies just above the fees threshold. New Labour was about wooing Middle England and to do the above just makes no political sense, these are also the people I have seen suffer the most.

You are lumbered with debts, which is a problem that you will personally have to solve. If anything, this destroys the nature of social mobility, or at least makes it about as easy as walking through a pool of treacle. Whether a Students? Union should naturally be in favour of free education will hopefully come to light from this survey; the Union is there to represent your interests. Just remember that education is the most liberating of human endeavours; could placing a price tag on it only undermine this liberty? Whether you believe this or are a self-proclaimed "pragmatist", one thing is for sure, someone will be burdened by the cost. However, you can choose who will be better at dealing with it.

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Discussion about “Free education leads to a free society”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Niall   
Mar 06 2008 00:45

While I admit your argument is well thought out and based on a set of altruisic ideals, do not forget they are based on your ideals.

If everybody thought like you, implementation of a free education would need no boundaries. Not everyone has the due diligence to appreciate the chance to learn. like the social welfare system in our country, the benefits to the needy will be fractioned by the scavenging opportunists who see a free ride. Hence the mess we live in, due to the attraction of our welfare state, feeding the able-yet-lazy to the detriment of the hard working providers who supply the revenues for these parasites.

Mar 06 2008 01:12

Heya Niall, have you been googling my name or your own and found this?

I admit that pragmatically free education is not feasible. I believe that a good solution would be a reduction in people going to university and just entering jobs alongside vocational training schemes, and this should be encouraged by schools as an honourable thing. University is not for anyone, so either those who are not suited will suffer or standards will have to drop. Alongside this I believe there should be schemes where companies can choose to sponsor students and students then are not entitled to a loan and tuition as it is provided. This would actively encourage better links with industry and help industry stabilise the economy through the knowledge they are investing in students. The government could provide tax incentives in order to encourage them to take part in such schemes. For the students who are careerists and not academics then it is a good platform for a job. For academics there can be a government support network still. I am not lambasting subjects though - if a university chooses to run certain courses then it is their right, as well as it is a student's right to attend them. However, if a careerist is merely taking a course in eg. horse psychology to get a graduate job, they would do well to enter into an industrial scheme.

Mar 06 2008 01:12

I admit that pragmatically free education is currently not feasible

Mar 13 2009 09:39

Sir I completed my MSc IS from A.U in 2005 may I have due around 40000/- social welfare pay only some amount remaining they will collect from us. I am not well in financial but I would like to prepare M.Tehc but those people cannot give my certificates Please help me in this issue...

Mar 13 2009 09:52


My first suggestion would be to learn how to write

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