Sunday, December 12, 2010


There has to be a fairer way to fund higher education than imposing the dread stone weight of debt around the ankles of those who chose the path of knowledge. It is not only that individual who benefits from learning.

This morning, did you read a newspaper? Drive a car? Have you ever been to the doctors? Perhaps you had a child, delivered by a midwife? Maybe your children go to school? Perhaps you are reading this on a computer? Maybe you take photographs, cook food, go to restaurants. Are you or is someone you know on medication? Have you ever in your life been on an aeroplane? Do you read books?
We all benefit from people who have had a university education in almost everything we do in everyday life.

Students have already spent up to 3 years of their lives not earning, in some cases up to seven years, making their way through college courses, some in pursuit of learning, others in pursuit of dreams and a few just treading water until they find the right path.

From cleaning the house with a vacuum cleaner, to driving, washing, in so very many ways engineering, design students benefit everyone. So how can it possibly be unfair for everyone to contribute to the education of our population? And students are not just kids leaving school, but sometimes mature students who have realised through experience the paths their lives should go, who need a qualification in order to realise their dream. How can a father or mother with two young children ever now take that brave decision to leave work in favour of three years of hard work and learning, with fees to pay and a family to feed? And students with disabilities. How can they be expected to take on so much debt?

Why punish those even more but weighting their lives with a growing debt, for if they don't achieve the £21 000 a year and start paying back it will grow.

If you live in a cave, don't drive, have nothing technical in your cave, never take medicine and have no kids etc, ok, maybe you should get a tax rebate. Otherwise in our glorious and beautiful interconnected web of life everybody benefits so everybody should contribute, levelling the playing field just a little and sharing the burden.

I for one would rather invest in people, in their potential, in a brighter future for our youth than in banks.
And I would celebrate the colaboration of art and science, not favour one above the other. The world needs its dreamers and thinkers and sceince and art so much closer than so many people understand. Next time you vacuum your house lust look at the amazing piece of everyday design and technology you are using.
I would share the cost of educating our population, I would celebrate that web that connects us all to each other, strengthen it. That is the true meaning of The Big Society, if only Cameron had the whit to realise it.

Just because the vote for the increase in fees has gone through government it does not mean that the fight against this is over. The bill has a long way to go and if there is no one in opposition who has the powers to stand against this retrograde piece of legislation then we will have to do it ourselves. So if you blog, then cut, copy, paste or link to this post. If you are facebook then please share this post.


  1. I would put some of the resources that are used against benefit fraud to work in closing the loopholes that allow big business to crawl through the tax system. I would use them against people who evade taxation, from the smallest business to the largest. I would go to the banks and find the people whose job it is to twist and turn and squirrel and hide the wealth of the richest in the land and I would put them to work for the government in closing the loop holes of tax evasion.
    The Big Society isn't about sacking librarians and getting volunteers in to do their job, closing down hostels and getting volunteers to do soup runs. Let's take David's Big Society nonsense and send it right back at him.
    Let's understand how important we each are to the other.

  2. ohh a wonderful post and comment~i shall of course pass it on!

  3. Brilliant Jacki

    Ok i see how i can link this

  4. I hear you loud and strong Jackie. I believe education is a right for all, not a privilege for the rich. That's a good way to bring down educational standards isn't it, to only allow in those who can afford it, rather than those who actually have the talent or aptitude no matter what their financial situation is. What kind of doctor do we want to see, one who got into medicine because their parents could afford the fees, or one who actually has the knowledge and intelligence to know what they're doing?

    And the idea that the Arts is some kind of frivolous hobby makes my blood boil. At the moment I'm back working as a Graphic Designer (having studied full-time for 3 years to get my qualifications). I recently overheard a conversation between 2 other designers about the fact that the general public has no idea what we do. Do they think that books, magazines, newspapers, posters, brochures, TV commercials, business cards, menus, catalogues, most websites, labels, billboards, packaging, logos...the list goes on...are created by fairies? As you say, everything we use that humans have created has been designed by someone, drawn up by artists so they can actually be made. Art is so irrevocably essential, so embedded in our society it has become invisible and no-one sees what's right under their nose. I wrote a post earlier this year (link below) covering similar ground here in Australia, and it's so sad that we have to keep justifying our existence...imagine if all the artist's and designers in the world went on strike for a couple of months?! The world would grind to a halt!

  5. Well said indeed... will certainly link to this...

  6. It is so good that you have allowed us an outlet for our feelings about the awful direction our 'Big Society' is taking. It's back to the selfish me, me, me days. I cherish our young people and will gladly pay for them to have opportunities to develop and gain knowledge and understanding. After all they will be the people looking after us when we are old and have stepped down. I am so worried about what is happening.
    Keep shouting Jackie, we are with you and will help you to shout louder.

  7. Succinctly and excellently put - of course I'll share this!

  8. Ironic isn't it that the very people who put their ill gotten gains into art as investment can't see the value of training people in the arts!!

  9. I agree! A more well-educated society is a happier, more productive society. It's so unfair to tie our youth in the bondage of debt just so they can serve society.