Vix Lowthion, IW Green Party spokesperson and National Green Party spokesperson for education has responded to the Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely‘s latest comments on the Government review of funding for post-18 education.
“The review into funding for Further and Higher Education is an admittance that after eight years of a Conservative government, their policies of high tuition fees and competition between institutions has failed to deliver.
“The combination of over £9,000 per year fees, removal of maintenance grants for even the poorest families, and reliance on loans with over 6% interest rates, has resulted in stagnation which is treating education as primarily a business and not a society good.”
System should be based on merit not ability to pay
Vix went on to say,
“As a Sixth Form teacher on the Island, I have witnessed a significant increase in ‘unconditional offers’ being made to our young people as universities clamour to bag the £30,000+ fees from each student, without them achieving any particular grades.
“We must return to a post-18 education system which values hard-work and achievement and is based on merit – not your ability to pay.
Bring back bursaries
Setting out her hopes for the outcomes of the review, Vix finished by saying,
“I hope that the government review will bring back bursaries for nursing and care staff, will provide more flexibility for adults to go back to studying part time, and will elevate Further Education and vocational training as on a level with more academic study.
“As a society we all benefit from well-trained and educated citizens – whether that is based on the arts, humanities, science or technology. They all have great value. I am yet to be convinced that the government review will scrap tuition fees, increase access to post-18 education – and actually go far enough.”
Labour: Cost-cutting “disguised as genuine consultation”
The Isle of Wight Labour Party’s parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley said,
“Like so many things this Government does, the review is a cost-cutting measure disguised as genuine consultation. The review’s terms of reference make it clear that no real change will be considered.
“Crucially, cripplingly high tuition fees will remain in place, as will the exorbitant interest rates levied on indebted young graduates. Meanwhile, the Tories’ floated idea of fining students for taking science and technology degrees by charging them higher fees is frankly bizarre.
He went on to say,
“This Government voted to triple tuition fees, scrap maintenance grants, and slash funding to FE colleges, and now is putting forward a review of its own policies as if it’s somehow not responsible for what it has done.
“The Labour Party made its position clear in our Manifesto in June last year: scrap tuition fees, bring back maintenance grants, and create a properly-funded, cradle-to-grave National Education Service, so that all our citizens, young and old, have the opportunity to use education to develop their skills and knowledge in order fulfil their potential.”
14.48 – Added comment from Julian Critchley