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Showing posts from November, 2019

The cost of equalising the HE experience

The main party manifestos have been the subject of intense scrutiny by the media this week. Costing of the various plans has been the subject of considerable criticism. It seems that many observers doubt that the increased spending will be possible without greatly increased borrowing. Add to this uncertainty about the economic impact of Brexit and the level of scepticism rises. Yet the UK spends much less on its citizens than many of its EU neighbours and the effects of austerity are now critical as services disintegrate. Amidst this, education should aim to stand on the foundation of equality of opportunity and fairness. This is particularly true of Higher Education if it is to feed improved social mobility.
Making university education fair for all students.

One of the central assumptions of Higher Education must be that every student is afforded the same opportunity. At the core of this idea is the notion that family will support their children through university. Yet this is a wholly…

The manifestos: equality, environment, Brexit and the student vote

The number of young people, many of them students, registering to vote has surged as the election approaches. Of 418,000 registering in the last two days, 67% were under 35 years old. Thirty-five per cent were under twenty-five. It is fair to say that this is the most important election for the next generation since 1945. A definitive result will determine the economic fate of UK citizens for generations to come. 
However, the divisions within the UK seem to herald another minority government and escalating conflict. The main parties, except for the Conservatives, released their manifestos earlier this week. The Conservatives waited to make an appearance on a Sunday. But now that it is revealed, a comparison of what to expect for student equality, finance and equality of prospects is possible. However, all of this is overshadowed by the uncertain economy. Brexit and tackling the climate emergency will be the main influences shaping the economy to come and young people will have to pay …

It’s the economy (Brexit) stupid

As many students grapple with how they should vote in an election that will define their futures, the latest survey data shows Brexit is the key issue for them. The major parties are now making wild promises of astounding investment to attract voters. But Brexit is going to overshadow everything. That is because it has profound long term economic consequences that will affect students in their future careers. Their current financial problems are important but are no longer an issue as any proposed changes in grants and fees are unlikely to benefit them before they graduate. Overcoming climate change will also have massive infrastructure and economic consequences that students will be considering. We can expect other voters to face similar dilemmas and the old order will be overturned in a very volatile election that will define the 21st century.

Update Note added on 9th November 2019:
The latest YouGov poll of voting intentions (Regional voting intentions show both main parties down eve…

Election 2019: a one issue election for students

The electorate is polarised on either side of a Brexit chasm that is unlikely to see compromise. Many may vote strategically for any party likely to counter what they do not trust and what they fear the most. Students may set aside their concerns about fairness, fees, and maintenance grants and vote on Brexit as the defining issue. The fallout of Brexit will affect their working conditions as their careers develop. Seeing their lecturers plan for industrial action on some of these concerns this week will profoundly affect their thinking. The hope is that mobilising their strategic votes will restore some balance and faith in our democracy as students lead the way.

With the date of the next election, set for Thursday 12th December this week, there comes the realisation that time is running out. Parliament and the ‘executive’ government have failed to make key decisions about our future. The Brexit crisis has consumed most of their time as other pressing needs are side-lined. Low and beh…