Scottish rays of sunshine

December 22, 2016

In these dark neoliberal days when citizens are being required to pay directly for things that used to be regarded as for the common good, I am thankful for the ray of sunshine provided by the Scottish government’s resistance against student tuition fees (“Can Scotland carry on with its free-tuition policy?”, Features, 15 December).

In the past, we went to university for free, we received grants, housing benefit and even dole during the holidays. We got educated, we paid taxes, we were grateful; and when we graduated we felt that we owed society, our country and our alma mater for the privilege.

Today our students pay £27,000 in tuition fees and, as universities become more corporatised, undergraduates are becoming clients/consumers as much as scholars. They seek less an education and more a certificate that will allow them to earn enough to pay their debts. They owe little to their university or even their country because they have already paid. In the future, we will all be much the poorer for that change.

Magnus Johnson
Senior lecturer in environmental marine biology
University of Hull

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