Friday, December 10, 2010

Nay to English Education

The British government has passed regulations that allow them to triple the costs of education in Britain, leading to mass student protests, some of which have turned ugly, in the streets of London. The latest hapless victims of this widespread anger were Prince Charles and his wife Camilla who sustained a certain amount of mob damage to their vintage Rolls Royce. It's ironic and unfortunate that the couple happened to be decked out in their finest on their way to a charity event in a plush pleasure car while students protested the prospect of riddling future debts that would bar them from a decent wage earning lifestyle and would thus make them future recipients of such charity. How short-sighted of them.

It's not incredible that the government that got voted in on the promise of tuition freezes for students has reneged on that promise once they were faced with the actual books. Politicians lie all of the time and the jaded people of our generation know better than to expect anyone to actually keep their promises once they're handed power. What is incredible is that instead of attempting to assuage or feign ignorance by upping tuitions by a marginal number which may pass under the radar, they did the truly inconspicuous thing by tripling them.

Now that's just greedy. While a population that's been lied to may have the decency to put aside their disappointment and anger in favour of a middle of the road compromise for the betterment of the country, tripling the rate of education is just highway robbery. It's not like when the guy that you bought your sofa from on Boxing Day tells you that he can't make overnight delivery free as he initially promised, and would you mind if it arrived on Wednesday. It's like you reading the Boxing Day flyer as $399 and coming in on the day of the pick up and finding out it's $999. That's when you throw your hands up in the air and rant and rave all the way home and wave the flyer at people and tell all of your friends and family not to go to that store because they're all a bunch of liars.

Except that this is not as easy to walk away from as a sofa. You can live a few years without a sofa without it adversely affecting the rest of your life. It's a lot harder to do that without a high level of education. Lack of education bars you from the best positions and the best salaries. It also hinders your advancement in almost any form of organization that you can be employed with. Not to mention that it can drastically reduce your mobility and your ability to change careers.

The government is making the argument that the deficit crisis has reduced them to this kind of measure to generate more revenue. Which is little comfort to students to know that their future will be mortgaged based on the errors of some six figure idiots in the banking industry.

There's no way that this plan will work, either. There will be less students paying more within British universities and the rest of the population will go elsewhere. Many of them will likely jam Scotland and Ireland's universities for cheaper tuition rates and some party time away from home. Those who don't have that luxury and couldn't afford university at the current rates before the tripling measure occurred, will simply not go to university. They will either get low paying jobs wherever they're available or they will pick up a trade. This will put Britain on the fast track to becoming the world's supplier of plumbers and electricians and construction workers in Dubai.

A workforce which lacks highly educated professionals will have to outsource, a process which is expensive, competitive and only advantages the professional, who can come and go as they please and determine the conditions of their employment. It also leads to the 'brain drain' problem that many experts say will happen naturally as a result of so many boomers retiring.

An uneducated workforce doesn't buy homes, delays starting families, doesn't take vacations abroad, go to the theatre, or buy mass amounts of presents at Christmas. They are not a serious contributor to the economy as a result. There can be no economic recovery for a country without middle class earning power and consumership. Sadly, the middle class is dying out and measures such as education hikes for higher education are just the nails in the coffin.

Looks like billionnaire Branson may have to do the country's consumer spending for them. He may be one of the last people who can afford to.

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