By: Eric Lam, Grade 11
The Browne Review was published to Parliament on November 9th, 2010. The Browne Review is an Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance chaired by Baron John Browne of Madingley, a member of the House of Lords, the ex-chairman of BP and the ex-non-executive director of Goldman Sachs. The Browne Review suggested a policy that would lift the current cap on university tuition fees, supposedly causing university tuition fees to go up by 40% by 2012, with an 80% cut to the education budget. The British Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, supported the policy of increasing university tuition fees, though ironically one of his party promises was to disallow tuition fee increases.
British institutions annually charge £3290 ($5,161.27 Canadian), as a bare minimum. The reason for the rise of tuition fees is to increase the standard of education. On December 8th, 2010, the British parliament held a vote whether to increase tuition fees for universities all over the Britain. The final results came in and Nick Clegg’s party won the vote for increasing tuition fees by 40% by 2012. They would go up to an average of £9000 ($14,118.90 Canadian). The idea of raising tuition fees caused many students to protest against the government’s actions.
A massive student protest was organized on November 11th, 2010. Students from all parts of the United Kingdom banded together to protest against the government’s decision on raising university tuition fees, and the protests are still going on in London. Students from all over the United Kingdom are now aware of the policy passes in England. The other United Kingdom countries still have to either agree or disagree to the policy. Scotland and Ireland are still debating on whether to pass it. Many students within London are concerned about having to repay an exceedingly high debt in the future. University fees in the early- and mid-20th century did not cost students such a fortune. Canadians pay an average of five thousand dollars a year; imagine having to pay fourteen thousand dollars annually. You can do the math yourself regarding how many years of education you are planning to take. Decisions about student education cuts were being made in Parliament and the budget for education was cut by 80%. These cuts are considered to be the biggest cuts in London’s history. Now the students have to pay for their education almost entirely themselves. Education is supposed to be government-supported. The question is: where will the money from the budget go if the students were to pay extra? Students say that their money will end up in bankers and politicians pockets eventually. Which side would you likely believe more, the politicians or the students?
Fifty thousand students stepped forward together, starting a movement to create change within their country. When you grow older, you begin to realize that the money you put into your university education was a large amount. Budget cuts were being made all over London during the time the tuition fee policy was brought up. Public service budgets were cut drastically, benefitting the politicians and banks. What happens if public services such as public health care or public education get underfunded? The truth is that they would have to charge more or become privately owned by a company. If public education tuition fees were to increase by 40%, privatized universities might start to show up around London. You might have to pay an even greater amount of money of what people use to pay for their education. Nick Clegg might end up privatizing universities or public services in London in the future. When you are an adult, would you imagine yourself having to pay for your child’s university education? How would it feel having to pay more money then what you originally had paid for your own university education? We should support the students in London for protesting against the government who is trying to steal money from the general population.