Monday, December 13, 2010

If Scotland wants to be an educational powerhouse, free degrees must continue, ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’

Dear All

One of the most important things for any country to progress is education.

Blair famously said:

“Education, education, education”!

Such was the importance that he placed on what is a key aspect of a developing society.

Education should be free for all because it isn’t just the individual that benefits; society reaps the rewards of years of study by the individual too.

In the next Holyrood election in 2011, the Labour Party faces a massive problem how to campaign against the principle of free university education for Scottish students. The Labour Party run the middle classes want to pull the ladder up from the poor.

A Green Paper is on the go that proposes how the future of higher education funding north of the border will look.

In the end it is all about choices, England will see its home students in some cases shelling out £9,000 down south.

In sunny Scotland, not a bean!

This is being called Britain’s “educational apartheid”.

At present English students pay about £1820, this is the annual fee for English students to study at Scottish institutions.

Do English students enrich a university in Scotland?

I would say yes, most of the years I spent at university were spent in the company of English students.

I also don’t favour raising the £1,850 fee; Scotland needs to be diverse in its student population.

But I would cap the numbers in order to protect Scottish student places.

England in raising the student tuition fees has created a modern day ‘poll tax’ situation, and rod for the ConDem back.

The Lib Dems sit at 9% of the vote and heading for the political wilderness, there is more to come off their vote still.

Such a stark contrast between the two systems will help focus the people of Scotland’s minds towards who really protects their interests.

Free University education shows what a progressive government can do in the right hands.

And we sorely need to keep the current progressive government we have at the moment who are committed to improving the life chances of the many, particularly those from deprived working class backgrounds.

I will be backing free university education and so will my vote for Holyrood in May 2011.

Scotland must remain an educational powerhouse; we have already given the world so much by Scottish invention and we mustn't stop now, it's time to keep the faith.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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