Student Soapbox: “Fleeing the Fees”

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n October, Germany scrapped tuition fees from all universities. Lowe Saxony’s decision has been greatly welcomed in Germany whose flirtation with tuition fees was seen as a foolish mistake.

Yet a similar decision is not likely to happen here in Britain. Tuition Fees are the orthodox belief not just of Vice Chancellors but of most of the political and media establishments. In fact many of the same figures who argued that £9,000 was the maximum that universities needed are now arguing that an increase is necessary. We are living in an age where education is not valued and it is simply a commodity to be bought or sold.

However, going to University is not the same as doing the weekly shop.

We have seen large scale anger over the fees, not just from students but from a host of individuals and groups who feel we will create a two-tier society. Many Britons who were the first in their family to go to university state that if tuition fees existed back then they may not have had that opportunity. We as a nation need to realise that we can only progress by valuing these things so we can compete with the best in the world.

In recent years it’s become in vogue to be German. We are seeing fault within our own nation so we look to our fellow European brethren.

One lesson we really do need to learn from the continent is the value of education.

We need to appreciate that educated people are competitive people. Education has numerous benefits for all and nobody should put a wall around higher education. We wouldn’t do it for primary or secondary, so why higher education?

Yet the decision in Germany will have little to no impact on the political narrative in Britain. We as a nation are unwilling to take the radical action of getting rid of fees – or, at least, the political class are. We need a system that is fair and provides people with the opportunities that they need and deserve. We have to keep this issue current and relevant, rather than simply let it fall by the wayside.

Britain’s universities are some of the world’s best but they have to be open for all, rather than a collection of ivory towers for most people to marvel at. We can take heart that German tuition fees are a thing of the past and maybe we can achieve the same thing on our side of the North Sea.

Header Photo: Flickr/cianginty

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