Back in 2009, I decided that I wanted to use my experiences with Sausage’s birth to help other people in a similar position. I realised that I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do that without qualifications, so I embarked on some formal education in the form of a Psychology degree with the Open University. Despite not having A-levels, I was able to complete an access course which eased me into higher education and provided me with 60 of the 360 points needed to gain my degree.
I finished the course, passed, and enrolled on more as soon as I could. I started two at the same time, one a 60 pointer and another a short course worth 15 points. As often happens, life got in the way and I decided to quit the 60 point course and finish the short course before taking a break. I’ve done various things between then and now, working for myself, being a lady of leisure, working in a couple of offices, but it’s always been a niggly thing in the background, my unfinished degree so I made the decision to try to get it done.
I went to the OU site, chose a module, registered and waited for the forms to turn up. When I started the degree a 60 point course was, on average, between £650 and £750. This new course I want to do? £2500. And it seems all of the courses have gone up by that much. So, that means that from beginning to end instead of costing between £3900 and £4500, that very same qualification will now cost around £15,000. Put simply, the cost has almost tripled.
Now, were my household income below the threshold or we were in receipt of certain benefits, I’d get the full amount paid for me. As it stands, I’d get a partial award of around £600 towards my course fees, so I’d still need to find about £1900 for the rest of it.
I’m not saying that I think I’m entitled to a free education, but I really feel like the message is all wrong here.
For a start, I’m 28. Not everyone wishing to embark on a degree is a grown up, most are 18, fresh out of sixth form or college and looking to improve their life prospects. This means that either they take student loans and get themselves in a ton of debt (really not what we should be encouraging, in light of our current economy), work while studying and put more pressure on themselves, or turn to their parents who’ll need to find several thousand pounds to pay for the education, not to mention food and shelter for their children. I feel sorry for anyone with more than one kid at this point.
The fact is that by increasing the fees by this much, the majority of ‘average’ people are simply unable to afford to better themselves. £600 is a help, but I simply don’t have a spare £3800 a year, which means I just can’t complete my course. I have no choice but to remain incomplete, no way of increasing my earning potential, a vicious circle if you will.
All I know is, as much as I try to stay away from politics on this blog, I’m genuinely despairing of this government. It’s patently obvious to anyone who takes the time to notice that the Tories are doing everything they can to keep the ‘lower’ classes in their place (menial labour and servitude, I’m guessing?) by depriving them of a chance to education and we’re just letting them do it.
I’m not condoning the riots, but the people who were rioting were doing so because they felt disenfranchised and abandoned by their country. That was a relatively small group but one by one, the Tories are managing to make other social groups feel that same level of frustration and abandonment. I hate to think what will happen if that, much larger, group decides to take matters into their own hands to make themselves feel listened to.
Welcome to Tory Britain.
Welcome to the Middle Ages.
14 thoughts on “Too Average for Education.”
I’ve been stewing over how to reply to your original comment all morning and I’m glad you came back and replied. I must apologise for my original lack of clarity – I was genuinely never referring to you and Mags when I made reference to privilege, it was more a comment on our recent personal issue with trying to find a new place to live and being largely unable to afford to live in the areas where the best schools are – for instance, to live in Thorpe Bay where the state education is above average, our rent would double for even a small property.
My comments about property was aimed more at people of our parents generation (though not your parents or mine specifically). I read a really interesting article recently which spoke of how the ‘baby boomer’ generation lived in a society where education and jobs were ample, property cheap and the country generally rather prosperous, and they used the analogy that these people have climbed the ladder of privilege and then pulled it up behind them, all the while looking down on us young ones and saying “Well, they’re going to have to bloody well work for it, aren’t they?”.
The very last thing I want is for us to fall out, I like the fact that we can have a lively debate because our politics differ so much, in fact I think I’d find you rather boring if you agreed with me all the time! 😉 All I’ll say is, maybe written communication isn’t our most productive form of debate, huh?! xx
Oh and your final point, while unpleasant, is a matter for the government too. It’s their rules that are being used. It isn’t the unemployed van driver or hod carrier who chose to make Police Constables pay for hospital treatment while giving drug addicted criminals theirs for free.
The decisions were made by the government chosen by the people. Those that lay out policy in their manifestos and never stick to them, those that defraud.
Air your grievances with them.
As a last point, while I understand some of your issues I don’t think you’ve been 100% fair and polite while raising them. You’ve come across as rather abusive on a couple of occasions and that isn’t the right way to be, as you well know.
Text is great for expression but it always falls foul of interpretation, doubly so when impassioned arguments are being made, so do try not to take things personally.
Now, let’s all shake hands and stop getting at each other’s throats over politics – especially not when there’s a whole world of religion out there to scream at each other about.
Where has anyone said you are/were privileged, Jules? I didn’t read that anywhere. What I read was Jayne and yourself arguing the point that this country is an unfair cesspool and one in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to peacefully and legitimately exist.
You both make cogent points but at times you have come across as incredibly vitriolic at what is essentially a whole ‘class’ of people, and I think that’s where you’ve come unstuck.
It absolutely sucks that education is off limits for the both of you, and yes, it’s unfair at times that people stuck ‘in the middle’ ,as it were, aren’t afforded certain opportunities and benefits that people in need are – but the point Jayne was making and one which I would like to make myself, is that were you to fall on hard times (I hope you never do of course) they would be there to catch you, just the same as everyone else. And that’s the beauty of the welfare state. We all pay when we can, and we all take when in need.
Sure, there are many unscrupulous people who abuse the welfare system in this country but to assume that everyone on benefits is such a person is an affront, and one which I assumed you would be too sensible to make.
Your career falling on uncertain ground is a dreadful state of affairs too, but what of the hundreds of thousands of other people in the same boat? Some of those have already lost their jobs and are now on benefits owing to the lack of employment opportunities in this country – and it’s those self-same people that you’re calling out as the scum who are sitting around and taking your tax money.
Your choices In re of children are your own, but waiting until you can afford it, while admirable, isn’t something that is necessarily beneficial to your family or the country. As you know, every citizen is entitled to child care assistance, up to a point, no matter what their financial status – so maybe you’re shooting yourselves in the foot? It may be a great opportunity to claim back some of your hard earned dinero.
Like you, we decent people look at those abusing the system and living parasitically off others as contemptible and the ‘entitled generation’ as you aptly put it aren’t making things any better, but don’t call out a whole swathe of society as work-shy. As I said, so-called classes blaming one another for societies ills is an absolute nonsense.
At the top of the tree we have the Lords and Ladies, the well to do – they dodge tax, claim fraudulent expenses from the civil coffers, abuse their privileges in regards banking and global finance and cost people their jobs.
Then in the middle we have the people who took on mortgages that they knew they could never afford out of greed, reneged on them and created a major balls up in the property market, and we also have people that earn plenty and claim benefits.
At the bottom we have the idiots that would rather smoke weed all day than get a job, those that live off the state in the same way as those above them only without the designer suit and Mont Blanc pen to sign on with.
It isn’t a class issue. It’s an administrative issue and one which will only be solved when people stop throwing shit at each other and start working together to improve the society from its top to its tail.
Well put, Maggie!
No, I completely agree, we’re essentially making the same point! I think the difference of opinion comes in where Jules and I disagree with how the country got in this state in the first place, but horses for courses and all that. And yes, as soon as I get a job offer in Vancouver and three one-way tickets to Canada, we’ll be running to the airport.
Oh, woe is the middle class. Poor them and their opportunities, it must really suck having access to decent state education because their parents can afford to live in expensive areas with good schools.
Yes, we pay taxes, a percentage of which goes towards welfare (which, might I add, you and your lovely lady wife would be more than entitled to draw from should you be as unlucky as some of the people in this country who were previously hard-working and have had their jobs torn from them through the thousands of redundancies that have happened), but it also goes towards the ambulance service, the fire service and…oh yes, the police service.
However, maybe the economy wouldn’t be in the state it is if some of the fat-cats who’ve STOLEN public money were made to pay it back, rather than continuing to take bonuses the likes of which are enough to buy a whole bloody row of houses.
And, onto housing – do we need to talk about all of the social housing that’s been sold off and never replenished? No, because the middle classes (many of whom were lucky enough to buy their houses before house prices became so prohibitive) don’t need social housing, that’s just for ‘layabout scumbags’.
There’s nothing idiotic about wanting people to be entitled to a free education! It’s a really decent aspiration to have for a country that’s been shipping ‘civilization’ out to others for centuries and besides, the amount of tax we pay in this country we should be able to afford it with relative ease.
I don’t think there’s a damned thing wrong with the majority of people’s work ethic, the main issue stems from the fact that people are working for the same wage they were 10 years ago, while the cost of living has increased exponentially every single year – so people who earn minimum wage are forced to find ways of augmenting their income just to live.
I don’t buy the hard done by middle classes line. Don’t be bitter that you aren’t entitled to benefits – be proud that you’re one of the few people in this country who is able to support themselves without state assistance.
Claiming that the lower classes are oppressed most certainly isn’t drivel either – the divide between the haves and have nots in this country is huge and only getting huger thanks to the Conservatives looking after their rich mates and no other prick. People see others with riches that genuinely don’t deserve it and it irks them, and the ones without the intelligence to see past it act angrily rather than constructively.
There are myriad issues with England and her people but pointing fingers doesn’t help anyone, it just makes the gap between so-called classes widen and separates the people more and more, thereby making the governments job of ruling over our soft arses even easier; because we look to blame each other rather than them.
Whether they be Labour or Conservative, Lord, King, Queen – whatever – we’re being worked into a dotage to provide a comfortable life for those with privilege and it’s time working people – middle class, lower class, whoever – took some action.
we should all be entitled to free education-simple as that.