Realpolitik (see also Political realism; from German: real “realistic”, “practical” or “actual”; and Politik “politics”) refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.
"Manchmal werden Leute den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht sehen."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

001 - Raising Tuition Fees: The 'Blinkered' Approach

- Uncapping tuition fees will close the door for many to Higher Education -

Those who voted Conservative in 2010 because they bought into David Cameron's carefully worded 'change' policy riding perhaps wisely on the back of the Obama wave and the evident dip in Labour popularity, should soon realise that the PM's set of policies deviate only from Conservative traditional ideology in that they have been influenced albeit slightly by Liberal Democrat figures in the coalition. This isn't to say I'm promoting Nick Clegg's party either, since campaigning against tuition fees in general was a cornerstone of his policy for election. Agreeing to and supporting the raising of tuition fees, no matter how it is dressed up, is a complete U-turn on his party ideology.

To really tackle the numbers issue we need to potentially limit places, though to those who are academically able rather than financially capable through the raising of entry requirements or potentially for some universities entry examinations and further interviewing. It is difficult to argue against the fact that the number of students currently entering HE may be unsustainable in a time of education cutbacks, but firstly Universities should be smarter with the budgets available to them. For instance Leeds University recently gave more than 500 of its medical students iPhones so they could access books instead of walking to the library or researching on personal computers.
Uncapping the fees limit on Higher Education is going to only serve to limit access to HE to the wealthy middle to upper classes, or those unafraid of potentially crippling debt once the interest rates (reputedly potentially at market level) take hold. Instead of easing the problems faced by Universities, uncapping fees and holding interest at market rate will only seek to cause serious damage to our prestigous university system, and turn a generation of capable students and future assets to our country away from their aspirations. Raising the tuition fees alone means the wealthy yet academically less able still get the opportunity to continue their education over the academically gifted but less financially sound.

If however we have reached a point where we now NEED to limit places either as a result of funding cutbacks or to prevent the degree becoming devalued as a result of an increasing number of graduates, then this should operate with a focus on academic rather than fiscal merit.


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