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Thursday, 9 December 2010

More on fees

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Newcastle yesterday. The interview is on iPlayer, with the link here. My piece starts at 10:30. I was questioned about my blog entry (below) in support of the student protests - so at least someone is reading my blog!

Today I received a note from one of my old friends, who teaches in an FE college in the UK. Here's his note, followed by my reply:

  • Craig Wheeler
    I liked the call Alan. To a point I can agree with what you said. However I work in FE and everyone of my students have to pay money to complete their course. If they don't do the course, then they can't progress in the work place. Which in... turn means they loose money. 99% on my students are self-employed and are responsible for paying for their own education. Up until now they have had help from the Train to Gain program which has reduced the amount of money they have to pay. This has just about finished, meaning all learners will now need to contribute 100% to get the qualifications they need, to be able to continue earning a living. So why should students who go to Uni be treated differently?.....I do think 6k a year is too much, but they should pay for some of it!!!See More

    2 hours ago ·

  • Alan Firth
    Hi Craig, nice to hear from you, mate. Personally I think all education for people training for a profession or career should be free -- just like primary and secondary education is free. But I'm a bit of an idealist, perhaps - I lived in Scandinavia for many years, so I got used to such provision being accepted and normal practise. In today's UK climate, students have to pay part of the way - ok, fine - whether in FE or HE. What concerns me, though, is that we will seriously risk denying college or uni education to a large proportion of people who otherwise - people like me, when I was 18 years old (long time ago) - couldn't afford getting into huge amounts of debt, which is what the current proposed rises in fees and diminution of grants will lead to. Long-term consequences are that Higher Ed will be even more dominated by people from affluent backgrounds. And that, to me, is socially divisive, immoral and a waste of human talent.
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