Education. What we use to further our society, to spread knowledge and to develop our future. As a society, we need it to continue our economy, knowledge and culture. You can't put a price on knowledge... Can you?
Imposed in 1998 by the Labour government, University fees act as a disincentive for many young people in going to University. Now standing at £9,000, the average student leaves University with around £50,000 worth of debt. Studies show that these students will be repaying their loans until they retire.
For those who are lucky enough to have relatives that can afford to pay the fees, great! For those coming from working class backgrounds, who are forced to take up 100% loans, sorry! David Cameron and Tony Blair obviously didn't have you in mind. Putting it bluntly, it is an underhand tax on the working and lower middle classes whilst those with inheritances are able to remain afloat financially.
I am far from condemning those who have the ability to pay their fees from paying their fees. Indeed it is not the fault of the student population, but it is their problem. It is a systematic failure to reduce inequality. A system that, on the surface, supports allowing equal opportunity. But, behind closed doors, maintains the status quo.
Through the luck of birth, human beings are separated and segregated through the educational system. Indeed, this system is corrupt from the outline. From Primary schools to Secondary schools and everything in between, funding is unequally spread to areas of more wealth. Schools in less funded areas struggle to survive.
Performance follows funding.
In order to advance society. In order to improve. In order to enhance knowledge, we need equal education. Depriving a child of an education simply because their parents work in an undervalued industry is a shame to what we call society. How can we expect the best ideas to come through if we don't provide the environment?
This article is politically and economically motivated, sure. But most importantly, it is socially motivated. For as a society, we should allow basic building blocks for every citizen to develop and grow.
The disincentive of fees and the soon to be lack of a grant as a helping hand not only hinders students, but also society. Who is going to solve the energy crisis? Who will develop businesses? Who will treat you when you are ill?
Would you rather have a doctor who is from a more well-off background or who got there through merit?
As a society, we have a choice to make: do we offer the most basic form or equality?
The answer is obvious, but the solution won't come from Downing Street.
J Stefan Devlin