An uneasy alliance of Conservative and Liberal Democratic politicians is settling into their Westminster offices and squaring up to the economic challenges they face. As usual, that old whipping-boy UK Higher Education is taking a beating in the budget stakes again. This is a great pity, because an education culture downsized by higher education cuts can take decades to recover. Those that realize this throughout the British Isles are countering as best they can.
The Education Bureaucrats are already facing howls of student protests following proposals to almost triple University fees to £9,000 per year. Their protests included denting Prince Charles and Lady Camilla’s aging Daimler car which stunned the Nation. It seems government policy is now shifting in the direction that the Liberal Democrats approve – the latest tweak is tantamount to social engineering and bussing poorer students in.
Government Adviser on UK Higher Education and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes has gone as far as calling for a cap on graduates of private English Schools in favor of the brightest State School pupils. He claims that British Universities have come out well in the latest round of negotiations, and that it is time past gone to stop failing miserably in the sphere of equal Education opportunities for all. His proposals include balancing the numbers of privately and publicly educated students at Universities charging £6,000 and more per year, and other higher education cuts as well.
While Simon Hughes’ proposals are no doubt made with best intentions for UK Higher Education, and no one doubts his integrity at all, his words have nevertheless kindled a debate that goes back as far as the cradle of Education itself. Should access to Education to be on merit or per a set of rules made by those already in possession of their degrees? The sons and daughters of the rich can afford to go elsewhere for their University Education in the face of higher education cuts – is the British Government further dividing the rich from the poor, or will their latest initiative result in a better educated Nation as a whole? Time alone will have the answer.