The latest education invention of this government? Excluding poor students

OhOver the past decade, students in England have been plagued by reforms that have made their lives worse. It began in 2012, when the coalition government decided to allow universities to triple tuition fees to £ 9,000 a year. This continued with the cancellation of maintenance grants in 2016, and the ministers’ failure to address student housing costs, which have increased by 60% since 2011.

Now, in a long-awaited response to the 2019 Agar Review of post-18 education, Boris Johnson’s government is proposing further changes that have gone under the radar – and we can’t let it go away from them.

As part of the plan announced by University Minister Michelle Donellan on 24 February, it wants to introduce a minimum entry requirement to stop students who have not passed GCSEs or A-Level 2 Es in English and Mathematics. Student loan. It says that social mobility cannot be achieved by pushing young people to university, but it totally misses the point. Proposals will hold back those who struggle with specific academic subjects, but whose talents will shine in a particular field later in their educational journey. How many of us graduates who could not go to university because they did not meet this arbitrary goal? It is not the youth of the country estate who will be affected, but those of the council estate.

It is part of an ideological, backward and unethical move that amounts to an attack on opportunity. The plan to cap student numbers for courses designated as “low quality” – which will limit the number of students able to participate in courses that are not considered economically viable – is nothing more than a cover to cut the wings of students’ dreams.

That’s not all. In addition to the cost of living, which former government ministers have told us will make for the toughest economic year we’ve ever seen, the Tories want to impose an additional £ 54,000 debt burden on students. From 2023, they want to lower the payroll threshold where future graduates pay off student loans of £ 25,000, and to increase the repayment period of student loans from 30 to 40 years. With inflation already hovering above 5%, household energy bills are expected to reach 4,000 by the end of 2022, and revenues are facing their biggest decline since the 1970s, making it unbelievable that they would make higher education more expensive. Trying They are not only attacking the current undergraduates who will enter the increasingly expensive world, but they are discouraging education – the good of a public that serves all societies.

When has it become a smart economic model to force millions of young people into debt for life? The students had a thought throughout the epidemic, but it was a new low. Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, is right – students deserve better.

You will be forgiven for thinking it can’t be so bad. They must have offered a dessert to make things more manageable? Not sadly. For all the flaws in the review, Agar made it clear that maintenance grants for poor students must be reintroduced, as well as any reforms in higher education. The government did not mention it when it announced its plans last month.

Radical change is needed, and thousands of students demanded it during the strike. I am so proud to be part of the reorganization of our movement for almost two years now that I have become the Vice-President of the National Union of Students for Higher Education. As I prepare to hand over the reins to a team of our next officers, it seems that NUS has proudly regained its radical roots in its centenary year.

There is still much to fight against. We will continue to protest against this ideological, backward and immoral attack of the government against the students. Recent announcements have made it clear that we need something completely different. We must give ourselves space to push for an alternative: a system that is fully funded and accessible to everyone. The student strike this month began this journey, but it certainly will not end.

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