The Cost of Learning

My girlfriend is currently hoping to take her PGCE (if that’s what it’s called… basically a teaching qualification) and she had a few papers to look over to talk about in her interview the other day. One of these was about the cost of LEARNING.

I was happy enough to pay over a grand (that’s +£1,000) a term for my university education, which has enabled me to get into the job I now have, which I don’t think I would have, had I not attended uni. However, that fee is rising inexorably every year and with the current financial ‘crisis’ (that’s hyphonated because I think crisis is far too strong a word to describe what is happening on most personal levels regarding available and future funds) in full sway, people are just not going to be able to afford to go into further education.

Han (my GF) is going to have to pay a grand sum of +£3,000 to get her teaching qualification. She doesn’t have £3,000. Neither do I. Nor do a lot of other people I know. So, while there is a recession going on, why are we making the people who want to become the nurturers of society’s future pay so much for the privelage of learning how? I suppose one argument says that the fee is in place to pay the teachers who will teach them, and to ensure that only the number of people who really want to become a teacher apply to do the training. But I’m not buying it. The government must want people to become teachers, surely? There must be cash set aside somewhere to fund the learning of these selfless individuals who are willing to put up with and try and teach all those snotty, horrible kids out there every day? Why should they have to foot the entire bill themselves if all they want to do with their lives is devote it to passing on their knowledge to the next generation? I, personally, would say that, without these wonderful individuals, without their skill, their wisdom, their knowledge, their patience, their careful nurturing and faultless understanding, the world would be at a loss. It would not have all the clever people who create medicine to cure terrible diseases, people who work out how to build buildings on fault-lines and have them stay upright in the face of the most ruthless earthquake, people who develop cleaner, greener energy to fuel our homes, our cars, our workplaces, and it would not have the kind lady who sits behind a till at Sainsbury’s and asks if you’d like any help with your packing.

But it’s not just the would-be teachers who are footing ever larger bills for their learning, people as young as 16 are having to pay higher and higher costs to partake in further education. In a society which has become obsessed with giving out degrees, with companies who won’t even think of hiring young people if they haven’t been to university, it seems highly counter-productive to have a system which is lowering the amount of people who will be able to attend college or university. Not too long ago a university education was not common. Someone with a degree was considered aloof from the rest of society, and were praised and lauded. They were to become the doctors, the architects, the politicians, the teachers, the generals, the admirals and the company directors. They would be the people who built the future. But the masses were not privelaged enough to have the opportunity to get this level of education, regardless of the fact that many of them would be far more capable than those who got the chance to learn (as has been proven throughout history; the labourer on a building site who knows more of construction than the foreman, the lowly private who is more tactic-savvy than his commanders, etc.). Will this be the shape of our future? Will we see only the few privelaged, rich and spoilt children take precedence over our own bright little minds because they can afford the entrance and tuition fees and we cannot?

I sincerely hope not.




~ by ninjabreadmen on February 4, 2009.

One Response to “The Cost of Learning”

  1. Teaching is a bit of a bugbear of mine(my partner teaches) and ,apart from the cost, I truly believe that the government should just butt out , bollox to score tables and all that shit . last year year my partner hand to find time in the week to teach 10 minutes of mandarin chinese . Just so that the school could earn some extra points . Teach ten minutes a week of chinese to 6 year olds , TEN MINUTES I mean it’s “get your books out” hello “put your books away” In the mean time people who want to actually teach CAN’T . utter drival

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