Abolish Tuition Fees

Posted on 23-05-20 by Paul Whymark Number of votes: 0 | Number of comments: 0

A rose smells the same by any name and "graduate tax" stinks just as bad or worse than "student loan". The terms of the current debate about Tuition Fees are flawed and are focussed on individual benefits. This leads to the narrow concept that the individual benefits and therefore only the individual should pay.

We want libraries in our society so we can use them if and when we want or need them. Museums and art galleries exist for the same reason and are paid for by people who will never visit either. Childless and illiterate people pay towards libraries and schools. Those who never go rock climbing or sailing pay for helicopter rescues. Those who never vote still pay for their MP. I don't own any multi million pound yachts or a Virgin island so why do I have to pay for a Navy? As a republican why must I pay for the Windsors? How many more examples are needed?

I want to live in a society which has educated, enlightened individuals walking the streets - not just knuckle dragging Neanderthals grunting on about getting this or that done. We need a debate about University and lifelong learning that is set in terms of the wider society benefits. The art gallery or museum should be there for all to access freely in the same way as the primary and high school. University should be the same and so should vocational training to be a plumber, builder or care worker. Education should be seen as a "public good" to be paid for by the public in the same way we do with arts funding, national parks, infrastucture and public health. They all add to and benefit our collective human experience. 

We have in the past few weeks discovered that we can pay millions of people up to £2500 per month to sit at home "furloughed". We need  imagination and vision to see what we could achieve if we enabled everyone to have access to University who wanted it without fear of future debt. Or we could see it the way Blair and Thatcher did and look forward to a future of tuition fees starting at age four or five for Primary School and only Libraries that can turn a profit remain open.

Let's be bold and argue for what we believe in and not pretend we know "what the public will accept". The public have been conned into accepting a lot of nonsense in the past - from WW1 through to Iraq. Only last year NHS Nurses were being encouraged to get a second job to make ends meet and Tories were clapping themselves when they voted down the Nurses pay rise. We accepted a 20,000 cut in Police numbers whilst a billionaire robbed BHS pensioners and kept his knighthood.

We must put forward clear arguments and educate the public about the value of University education in the same way we promote Primary and High Schools.  We can help the public understand that every graduate is a public good and benefits society. If they earn more, they pay more - it's called income tax. That is a tax that needs to go up for everyone including graduates but especially non dom billionaires and dodgers using offshore tricks and schemes but who still have all the protection around the world as British citizens whilst avoiding British Tax. 

Referring to: Early Years, Education and Skills

The Early Years, Education and Skills Policy Commission looks at issues relating to children’s wellbeing, development and care, as well as education training and skills from childhood through adulthood.

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