Education is a right and it is society’s duty to make it an accessible one. This right, however, is also a business and a business with a price tag.
A university education is widely sought-after not just for the education, but also the name, networking and association. Popular universities are able to capitalize on this through the means of domestic but also international student fees. Who can blame them?
Students come from all over the world to benefit from the high quality of education in the UK. It is no secret that these fees are high, predominantly higher than domestic students. But these students choose, nevertheless to swallow the price tag in the interests of a greater education.
These fees are paid in the expectation that investing more will reap a greater student experience and opportunities future employment. We entrust, in paying these fees that their allocation to the different departments is in everyone’s best interests. Logic follows that if our tutors and professors are paid well, there will be a greater incentive for them to invest more time, enjoy and hopefully gain from building successful relationships with their students. The power of business, however, compromises this logic and it is for this reason, among many others, that students of all persuasions cannot blame university staff for their participation in the upcoming strikes.
This is the essential paradox: how do we defend the rights of our tutors, professors, teachers and inspirers while in the pursuit of our own academic careers? As the future leaders of the world, we depend on their support – costs aside. Many students have voiced this exact concern in petitions, on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
The quality of our education depends on our lecturers feeling valued and propelled to inspire the future generation
A recurring thread is why, if we students are not responsible for cuts to lecturers’ pension schemes, are we hit with the consequences? Many raise the question of where our tuition fees are going if not in the pockets of our lecturers while on strike. There have been demands for compensation – lodged in multiple petitions.
Well, it is most productive to say our loss time and money is a small short-term ramification compared to what it will be in the future if a solution to lecturers’ demands is not found. Debt only accumulates the more it is left.
It is the universities, which, costs aside, need to take consideration of both the lecturers and students. They need to have a greater stake in these discussions, defending the rights and interests of both involved parties.
In the short term it affects us – in the suspension of lectures and material covered but so does it in the long term with far greater ramifications. The quality of our education depends on our lecturers feeling valued and propelled to inspire the future generation. If we are not getting compensated for our loss of time, it only makes sense that this money is invested into finding a long-term solution, so to prevent future and possibly greater future upheaval – more significant than 14 days of suspended teaching.
Any successful business needs to be able to make compromises. And it is the role of the universities to seek the most favourable solution in the interests of both the lecturers and students. With a price tag comes power and it is the role of the university to use this widely for the benefit of both their students and lecturers. It is not only in their interests, but in ours as well.