Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lies from UK government re increasing education funding

I have been studying with the OU for four years and recently completed my studies. I am thankful for the chances I had, but it seems our esteemed government is determined to ensure that funding for university should be cut.

I got the below letter some days ago, and thought it should be shown to anyone who cares to read how our government is lying and is determined not to ensure we have a more educated population, but the opposite.

As it also says below, there are things that can be done to show the government one is unhappy with the proposals. I did number 1, tried number 2, to only be told that because my local MP is a minister, he can't sign Early Day Motions. That smacks of stupidity and it also shows how little he cares that the people he represents actually are well educated.

What concerns me is that, if they are suggesting cuts now, and we haven't even started with hard economic times yet, then things are really going to get a lot worse. This government has shown itself to not be one for increasing university education, but the opposite. They now ensure that students leave university with a larger debt than ever. It is a case of 'I am alright Jack' for them, they got their degrees when they were free, and now it is time to pull up the drawbridge and stop anyone else joining.

Please read the letter below and if you value a higher education for all, then please sign the petition and do lobby the local MP, even if you get the same crappy response I got.

Message from the Vice-Chancellor on funding cuts announced by Government

I am writing to give students an update on the funding cuts announced by Government that will see The Open University receive less money to fund our operation.

What has happened?

The Government has announced that, as of the next academic year, it will no longer be funding students in England and Open University students in Northern Ireland taking any Higher Education qualification that is equivalent to, or lower than, one they already hold. These students are being referred to as ELQ (Equivalent or Lower Qualification) students. This decision will have major funding implications for The Open University as ELQ students represent a substantial percentage of our student numbers.

There are some exemptions to the new draft policy including initial training for teachers, nurses, social workers and all foundation degrees. But we are convinced that across the sector the higher fees that institutions may have to charge will deter many graduates from university-level professional development. In our opinion discouraging institutions and students in this way runs counter to the Government’s priority to re-skill the nation’s workforce – a priority that we entirely support and currently excel in delivering.

How does this affect The Open University?

We stand to lose a significant part of our teaching grant. This decision will be phased in over three years to help institutions adjust to the reduced income. The details of the exemptions and the implementation are subject to a consultation with universities which will end on 7 December 2007. With only a short time left before the consultation closes I am writing to ask you to support our campaign.

I want to reassure you all that we are working to minimize the effect of the policy change on the University and its students. We are trying to get the policy reversed and we need your assistance to help convince the Government to change its mind. We believe we have a strong case but need your support to help take this argument to Government.

How can you help?

There are two quick and easy things that you can do to help support The Open University campaign:

1. Sign the Downing Street Petition - The Open University Students Association has tabled a petition on the 10 Downing Street website. Adding your name to this petition helps draw our issue directly to the attention of the Prime Minister: petitions.pm.gov.uk/ELQFunding/

2. Write to your local MP asking them to sign Early Day Motion 317 on The Open University. Mr Mark Lancaster MP and Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, the two MPs who represent the OU’s base in Milton Keynes, have tabled a cross-party motion in Parliament that MPs can add their names to. Using the website www.theyworkforyou.com you can write to your local MP asking them to support this motion opposing the funding cuts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blew it

It is the day of the result for my OU course. Sadly the result isn’t what I hoped for and I feel I worked so hard for. If I am truthful I am feeling extremely gutted and disappointed by the result.

For me I had hoped to get a second class honours, and I ended up with a third class honours. Okay this is my second degree and as I am told I should be proud to have achieved what I have given I was doing it part-time and I had a lot of other pressures one wouldn’t have expected to have in the course of a 4 year part-time degree, but there is still that overriding feeling of having not achieved the minimum I set for myself.

I know others feel pleased and happy for me, but it like that feeling I suppose when you work so hard for something, you feel there is a minimum payback for all the effort and through the course know your work is good enough for a second class, and you fall at the final hurdle. It leaves you feeling bruised and battered.

One had also hoped to put this on one’s CV in the future, but I know how the businesses would see it, a third class to them, even when done part-time and as a second degree is not worth anything, just like they see anything below 2.1 as nothing.

It just leaves a bad taste for me, all the hard work and not as much to show for it as one had hoped.

It also makes me wonder if I should pursue an MSc in my first degree or not, would I make it against this background of the past four years. I know I still have to save up first for the course, but am I academically strong enough to ensure I get a good mark.

Arggh, just feel shot down for it. If anyone has been in the similar position, please tell me, how you approached it from this point in.

Not the Christmas present I was hoping for.