All but the most right wing of people would agree that education is a right, not a privalege. Infact, our right to education is enshrined in the UN declaration of human rights. However, our right to education is under attack.
Globally a process of mrketisation and comercialisation of education has been taken place, spearheaded by the world trade organisation (an unelected body whose function is to further the needs of global corporations around the world.)
In the UK this process of comercialisation has taken on many forms, from acadamies and trust schools, to the introduction of fees in higher education, the democratic control of education is being eroded.
Why are acadamies and private funding a bad thing?
The idea behind acadamies is that in order to fund more schools in the public sector, thilanthropic businessmen with enough money can fund the building and running of a school. Sounds good? Well what this means for communities is that the schools are taken out of the hands of local authorities, this means that these schools are no longer accountable to the community, no one elected the corporate sponser, and no one can hold them to account. Another thing is that any school that is privately funded through such schemes as PFI (private finance initiative), is leased back to the public sector, eventually this will cost the public more than if the schools had been wholey funded by the local authority.
Why is commercialisation of higher education a bad thing?
In higher education, a process of marketisation will lead to increased compitition between departments seeking funding. Only those departments which are economically viable, or those that have corporate sponsers will survive. This process can already be seen in many universities with departmental closures.
Why does this effect the democracy of the country?
Many of the departments that are effected by marketisation are in humanities and social sciences, these are the types of courses that encourage critical thinking, without courses such as socialogy, people wouldnt understand the social structures that make up society, without psychology there would be no understanding of what makes us do what we do. In the end the majority of courses, would be those that simply prepare us for a life as obediant workers.
What can students do?
The National Union of Students has failed. It has reduced itself through undemocratic internal reforms into a weak lobying organisation. They recently proposed a funding blueprint that they say would break up the consensus on fees, but what this blueprint really does, is further marketisation, and hand over more power to large corporations and businesses.
Students must act at a grass roots level, and coordinate with teaching unions, and local community groups in order to present a fighting resistance to the marketisation of education. By taking direct action, and showing the universities, the government, and NUS that we dont want higher fees, that we dont want debt, and we dont want acadamies, we can reclaim our education.
I don't want to pay more taxes so that a load of people I don't know can go and study sociology.
Definitely. The private sector isn't the exclusive solution to everything.
I don't mind tuition fees, though. There's a difference between having to pay and leaving education to the ruthlessness of market forces.
Jaager, I like this thread and I like your views.
You are dead right, there should be no fee's for H.E.
Unfortunately there were no real protests against the introduction of fees and abolishment of Grants; in retrospect this was shocking, absolutely shocking.
The political speeches given at the time were sickening, given that every one of the graduate politicians had benefited from free education.
As it happens I am in favour of private schools anf grammar schools, I am not however impressed at all with the idea of state schools being infiltrated with private or corporate sponsors.
On the topic of marketing, I hate the stupid learning techniques/styles that are forced upon us. Visual/active/kinetic/blah blah blah. This kind of business marketing has kind of slipped its way into the educational system.
Ofsted are the worse. A whole week of making posters and learning absolute nothing to satisfy the college a pass. What a waste. If there was a teacher just standing at the front of the class actually teaching, us then learning something and getting A/B grades, that would not bode well with Ofsted. Ridiculous
You're after the holy grail here. You want higher education open to everyone for free, but you don't want the level of HE to drop. It's fairly obvious why that could never work.
Taxing everyone for HE will undoubtedly be unpopular in an age where students are currently getting in tonnes of debt. Expecting them to pay not only for their own degree, but for every graduate after them is a bit of a kick in the teeth. The only way taxation could work is the proposed plan for taxing students for their own education rather than taxing the whole of society.
Basic education is a right, but entering into higher education is a privelege. Saying HE is a right suggests that people should be able to study a degree regardless of their A level grades. Handing out mickey mouse degrees to people because it's their 'right' benefits no one, and is kinda condescending.