It has been discussed recently that to ease rising pressure on the taxpayer to fund the higher education, government associated loans company (SLC), each university ought to take more responsibility for their finances and reclaim the debt from their students over the course of their working lives.
On one side, one might argue this will give universities more incentive to help students post-graduation in regards to finding employment, careers with potential, and higher paid jobs. Whole departments will need to be set up at each university in replacement of the SLC so that finances are managed and students can find a payment system to suit them. As well as departments for post-graduates entering and sustaining employment.
However, I must side with Kirsty Wark when she debated with David Willetts, the former university minister, on Newsnight last week with a strong argument that placing debt on to educational institutions themselves, it is likely that many courses which have fewer job prospects, and thus, financial return will be cut from universities, offering less choice of subjects and courses to prospective students.
I find it worrying that we may live in a society where our freedom of choice is being narrowed, and education is becoming more of a business than it has been for many years.
If this idea is put into action I fear students are going to be seen as money-making cash cows, only worth the effort if they can contribute largely to the British economy. There’s no denying we need to keep this country afloat financially, but what about the passion to learn, explore, break boundaries and try things no one has done before across all subjects and area of learning?
I would be disappointed to see universities transition into enormous greyscale marketplaces for law, engineering and medicine which are all crucial and necessary for society to function, but what about art, culture, ancient history and so on? It is vital to nurture some of the more obscure and unusual interests, it is vital we do not resign from the passion to learn or neglect our wide variety of choices. Taking a back seat from this decision allows an undertow of Conservative agenda to drag the next generation into a society trained for a career each, with less scope to decide what to do post-graduation.
Because of this, I believe this new idea does not have the tax payer in mind at all, but rather, could be a catastrophic shift in the way higher education is managed for new students who are keen to learn.