Jessica Chapman (Great Britain, UWCiM, 2010-2012)
The New Year got off to a less than good start, with the aftermath of the students riots hanging in the air and tensions over the coalition government holding a precarious role in the eyes of the public. Upset has been caused by a Conservative – Liberal Democrat government which have broken promises as well as cuts being made left, right and centre to help the failing economy. But who is going to bear the brunt of this? The students of course!
University fees have now been raised to a staggering £9,000 each year, with scholarships also being cut it is hardly surprising that this struck a chord with students. For the first time in a long time, students stood together in protest of a possibly devastating plan. Clearly, changes need to be made, the economy is in awful condition, unemployment is rising and many graduates are unable to find work. By raising fees and decreasing scholarships universities are becoming an upper class further education excluding any that don’t have a house with a swimming pool and a sports car. Forking out £9,000 each year is a struggle for a lot of families, especially those trying to help more than one child through the system. During times like these we all accept that something needs to change but is hitting our education system the hardest going to help? This is seems like a poorly thought out act of desperation with only the consequences in the short term being given recognition. In the coming future there will be a generation of the uneducated and unemployable; my generation, our generation. This generation will have to rely on the state for its survival, the same government that put it in this state in the first place. We became victims to this same mentality the last time the Tory’s held power. Still, there are the remnants of the destroyed mines, the workers and their families. Whole communities made redundant by a government afraid of the power its people held so, as many in power, they set about destroying the community. No though was given to the long term effects just a malicious attempt to destroy any potential threat.
Also to be taken in to consideration is the horrific effect on the country itself. Universities are becoming upper crust public schools, widening and ingraining the divide between rich and poor. Those with talent are simply disregarded as they cannot pay extortionate fees whereas those with a sever lack of intelligence can just buy their way into the country’s so called top universities. In the future we will be left with a country governed by an unintelligent race of wealth.
A country is built on its people, and the people of the future are the students. This generation is being stunted through restricted education and an increasing division between rich and poor. Not only are these constrictions damaging current and future generations but also the image of Britain in the eyes of the world. Some of the universities in Britain are acclaimed as the best in world but when admissions are reserved only for the wealthy how can this prestigious image be kept intact if no access is granted to those with lack of funds. This is a time in which we should be standing together, allowing ourselves to grow, educating our children, as one nation.
-United World Colleges Student Magazine-