In the words of Mulder and Scully from TV’s X-Files, ‘The truth is out there’ – Just don’t expect it from politicians of the three main parties any time soon, especially where education is concerned.
In opposition, Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg was adamant that university top up fees were wrong, and that if he ever got in to power, they would be abolished. You can see in the picture below that he was supporting student groups who were against this tax on education.
Fast forward a year, and the improbable idea of a LibDem leader having any say in government policy has been replaced by their first spell in government since 1922 – An ideal chance to put in to practice all those things that he was so passionate about in opposition.
Unfortunately, now he has his hands on the rudders of power, Nick Clegg has gone to the other extreme. Rather than abolishing student top up fees, the government that he is a major part of is increasing the amount that students will have to get themselves in to debt by in order to finish their education!
The Two Tier Education system
Well, maybe I am not giving the man enough credit. There is one place that a student doesn’t have to pay for their education in top up fees – Scotland. The Scottish parliament at Holyrood gets to make the decisions regarding education in their country, and they have decided (Quite rightly, in my opinion) that those who wish to advance their education and get a degree should not have to pay for it – After all, if you have a degree in engineering as an example, and you are earning a salary in excess of £60k per year, then the amount of revenue you will generate for your country both in tax take and contributing to industry will more than pay for your education in just a few short years.
Time to move for Scotland for the sake of my kids?
Well, no actually. If you are English and move to Scotland, you are not entitled to this particular benefit of devolution. The Scottish Parliament are not stupid, and have closed that particular loophole that would potentially drain their country’s finances.
Maybe the MP for Sheffield, a certain Mr N Clegg, could learn from the eminently more community focused MP’s at Holyrood, and honour his pledge made before the election. It is time to level the playing field on education between England and Scotland.
What do you think? Should a student education be free to all who qualify by their school grades?