Helen Davies has again kindly contributed to the BUCF blog with a post on higher education.
This is a tricky one and I’m expecting a lot of debate on this one… Leaving aside definitions of rights and privileges, this is an overview of my opinions on this topic:
As we all know, a university education is expensive. We can take out loans and overdrafts and be awarded scholarships and grants to help cover the costs but, in my experience, we will still usually end up in debt by graduation. Expensive things are usually seen to be something of a privilege but with more employers asking for a degree as the first hoop to jump through in order to get on the career ladder is it fair for university education to be seen as such?
Of course not – university should be a way for people for people to broaden their horizons and create opportunities for themselves. Surely we can all see that if anyone wants to do a degree they should be able to. University opens up a whole new world of possibilities – career options, relationships – as it should for all of us.
Personally, I love the student life – learning in an environment such as this has been an absolute joy and I’ve made friends for life here. Do we as a society not have a duty to provide such an experience for anyone who wishes to get involved?
Today, Birmingham is playing host to a NUS Takeover in order to protest against potentially higher tuition fees. If these fees are allowed to increase then higher education will become even more elitist than it perhaps already is.
Maybe there is a more complex point – I think it is a privilege to have the right to study for a degree…