Our user pays tertiary education has reduced Universities to professions as opposed to socially educated voters. Student loans are a destructive yoke put around the necks of Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials by Boomer politicians who got their education for free.
This locks those generations into a debt cycle.
It’s sexist because student loans impact woman more harshly due to them getting paid less which in turn keeps them in debt longer.
It’s racist because Maori and Pacific Island students are poorer and these costs are more extreme to them, and students there know it…
Students call for end to campus racism
A group of Māori and Pacific Island students is calling on universities to do more to break down barriers of discrimination.
They say thousands of non-Pākehā students face a brick wall of casual racism on campus.
It’s intergeneration theft because boomers got their education for free, have property speculated the rest out of the market and keep their pension while everyone else has to pay off their debt, save for a deposit in an over heated market and save for their retirement.
It’s classist because it impacts the poor and makes higher education a privilege rather than a social good and it’s neoliberal social engineering because it relegates liberal arts and humanities to the sidelines because of cost and promotes profession focused education. The concept of the social contract is torn. We gain an education not just for a job, you promote education and provide it to as many who are capable because it’s a positive thing to have an educated community.
User pays education isn’t good for society as a whole. Universities are supposed to be our conscience. Voluntary Student Membership and ever increasing fees have robbed us of a vital voice in the debate. We also now have academics frightened of speaking out against Government policy.
We lose our critics at our peril.
Why should working class people subsidise tertiary students? Other than providing working class people themselves with the ability to gain entrance based on ability over cashflow, on graduating, all those lawyers and Drs and Engineers and host of other professions have to charge more for their services to pay back their loan. That comes out of the pockets of all of us using those essential services. Only the banks win in this set up.
Having a fully funded tertiary education system is vital for our democracy and our future progression, instead we have generations locked into debt slavery that many will never be able to recover from.
So what’s the solution?
Arresting students at the border is fascist and the draconian nature of debt servitude is damaging, not building our future.
Labour have suggested lowering fees. That’s a very small start.
If we are serious about challenging Plunging student numbers, racism, classism, sexism, neoliberal social engineering & intergenerational theft, we need a far bolder tertiary education initiative.
1: Bring back Universal Student Membership so that tertiary students gain a voice and resources to become active critics again.
2: Bring in a Universal student allowance to every student.
3: Give option of paying fees via loan or bonded education where graduates work for the state at a set amount for a set period of time in their field.
4: Debt Amnesty for the 100 000 NZers who have fled the country to hide from their enormous debts.
Education is for the people, and our society prospers from an educated population. 30 years of neoliberalism has transformed it into a privileged class made impotent by user pays culture.