Higher education: how the state sees things.

The Cat wrote this piece four years ago in 2010. I’ve decided to reblog it because it is still acutely relevant today. The expansion of Higher Education has meant that there is greater pressure on graduates to go for post-graduate degrees in order to get good jobs. At the same time, there just aren’t enough suitable jobs available for graduates, who are now forced into low-paying, menial jobs. They thus have absolutely no chance of paying off their student debt, while at the same time are reducing the number of jobs available for unskilled workers.

When New Labour under Tony Blair introduced tuition fees, there was opposition to it on the grounds that this would restrict Higher Education to the Middle and Upper Middle classes, who would be the only people, who could afford it. This hasn’t quite happened, though I think it’s a factor in the decline in the number of men going on to university. Why saddle yourself with tens of thousands of pounds of debt when you can make some money in an unskilled or semi-skilled labouring job?

And I believe the Cat is absolutely correct when he says that the Coalition believe that only the Middle and Upper Middle classes should have post-graduate degrees. Everything else they’ve done has been very much in the interests of these classes, and at the expense of those at the other end of the social hierarchy – the lower middle and working classes.

Guy Debord's Cat

“What’s the point in education, if you have to pay for the privilege”? asked the Manic Street Preachers in their song, Socialist Serenade.  The neo-liberal plan for education is to make it inaccessible to those without the funds. It is even worse in postgraduate education where, if you can’t find the money to support yourself, you’re stuffed. There is little help available to postgraduate students bar research funding…and the competition for support is high.  Undergraduates can apply for hardship grants, as well as the Access for Learning Fund (AfL), they even have access to Student Loans.

If you are postgraduate student, regardless of how academically promising you are, you have to find the money to support yourself. The state believes that an undergraduate qualification is sufficient and anything beyond that is a luxury reserved for the middle and upper classes. Anyone else is simply shirking their duty to the…

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