Sunday, December 19, 2010

university education.... again

With all the recent student demonstrations regarding university fees and the like, I’ve perhaps been strangely quiet on the subject. I did write a facebook status note on the morning of the parliamentary vote – acknowledging that I would never have pursued an architectural career if I hadn’t received a full grant (and no tuition fees) and that I feared tomorrow’s architects would once again only come from privileged backgrounds. I have, however, previously voiced my concerns on the subject of university education and tuition fees – for example, November 2010 and November 2006. Polly Toynbee has written some brilliant, thought-provoking, education-related articles in the weekend Guardian over recent weeks (eg. this one on students’ EMAs).
There was an article in yesterday’s Guardian Money supplement entitled: “Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree?” which included interviews with various “writers and celebrities”.
AL Kennedy (novelist and comedian, who studied at Warwick) said:
“I couldn’t have gone to university if I had had to pay anything, or go into debt. I wouldn’t be doing my job, paying tax. I wouldn’t have a life to enjoy… I’d say to students, keep protesting… if I’d done more when I was a student, you wouldn’t have to be doing this. For which I apologise”.
On the other hand, Dan Snow (television+radio historian, who studied at Balliol College, Oxford), having made some sensible comments about the value of a university education, then went on to say:
“I didn’t have to start paying back the £9,000 until I was in a decent job and through my early 20s it meant a few less pints a week, delayed my entry to the housing market by a couple of years and prevented me from buying a nice car. Hardly a sacrifice.”
Something tells me he just doesn’t live in the real world of normal people.

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