Remember when English universities started charging students to attend? There was an outcry. I personally still remember the days when the government ensured it was free to attend higher education, and not only free to attend, they would give you a grant based on how much cash your parents earned. Now, the Confederation of British Industry is suggesting that universities should be free to charge higher fees and that the aspiration of getting 50% of all kids through university be dropped.
It’s true, the 50% figure is aspirational and is probably not based on any research about how it affects society, but there is a psychological advantage in getting more than half of all kids through higher education. And let’s not fall into the trap of suggesting that this means kids will study useless courses just to meet the stats. Higher Education does not have to mean university alone, it can also include vocational courses that go beyond school learning up to age 18.
I think the CBI is getting this all wrong. England should really be looking to Scotland as an example, not looking to charge kids more fees. The Scottish don’t charge students for their Higher Education. It’s considered advantageous to offer a good education to children from any class or level of financial background.
If we can’t get health and education right then how on earth are we going to fix those areas of government that really do need to be rationalised? Charging students more to go to university is an incredibly short-sighted regressive step.