Higher education becoming again a privilege of the wealthy?

The culture and education committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday 27 November 2012 adopted the new YES EUROPE.

The culture and education committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday 27 November 2012 adopted the new YES EUROPE.

Over the past few years higher education tuition fees have skyrocketed all over the European Union. Last year thousands of British university students took it to the streets of London and the other major cities protesting against the planned increases of tuition fees. Incidentally, this really huge protest movement gave Scotland Yard the opportunity to show off its new techniques and expensive gadgets of controlling street rallies.Tuition fees for higher/university education degrees have been increasing continuously in Britain and in some other EU countries even from the 1980s. But let’s briefly examine education policies in Europe during the past decades.

After WWII, university education tuition fees became nominal all over Europe and families had only to bear the student’s maintenance cost. On top of that governments and local authorities started subsidising poor families with children in higher education.

Education for growth

Those policies helped produce huge quantities of well qualified European scientists, who staffed the exponential expansion of secondary and tertiary education during the 1960s and 1970s, even exporting scientists to the United States. As a matter of fact higher education became a strong instrument of not only helping children from low income families to ascend in the social ladder, but also greatly helped European economies modernise, acquire dynamism, rebuilt the devastated from the war Old Continent and hugely strengthen technological development in Europe. Family income had ceased being a major impediment to children’s education. Medicine, sciences, law, economics and engineering became accessible to all and this helped reduce overall income inequalities.

Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the US however didn’t like this. Neo-liberalism became again the ruling political ideology and government spending on higher education was demonized and started to be trimmed down. This policy gained momentum during the 1990s and 2000s. As a result tuition fees in higher education have become again a major impediment for children of low income families.

In view of all that, the culture and education committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday 27 November adopted “the new YES EUROPE programme for youth, education and sport, merging all the EU programmes for education, training and sport and Erasmus for higher education…MEPs amended the Commission proposal to facilitate guarantee loans taken out by master’s students and simplifying the administration of grants….Students wishing to take a master’s degree in a different EU country will be able to apply for a loan which will be guaranteed from a new facility under the YES Europe programme. To qualify, the student must study abroad for one to two years. The committee voted for loans of up to €12 000 for a one-year master’s programme and up to €18 000 for a two-year master’s course”.

Universities for the few

The European Parliament however doesn’t say anything about students who wish to take up master’s degrees in their own country. In many EU countries there are no supportive policies in favour of their own nationals wanting to inscribe for a masters course or even to enrol for a first degree. In short the European Parliament doesn’t question the now established practice all over the EU, of imposing extravagant tuition fees on all higher education degrees, even in public institutions. In reality the huge reductions of government spending on higher education has transformed the entire tertiary sector into a private operation. Universities are being encouraged to secure more income from the business sector, by undertaking not basic researche the results of which could benefit equally the entire productive apparatus, but custom made R&D as if they were the innovation department of certain big private firms. In reality, the amounts that governments are still spending to support public universities do not subsidise their students but mainly the big business, which use for free the historical infrastructure of those institutions to promote their own proprietary technological interests.

The subject matter of the currently applied education policies is that governments should not cover the full cost of higher education with taxpayers’ money, and rather spent it on armaments or security or whatever. In any case they don’t not pave the way to higher education for children from low income families. Again, higher education is gradually becoming a prerogative of wealthy families, while the historical infrastructure of universities is been exploited for free by the big multinational companies. They pay only for the current cost of the research conducted to support their proprietary technologies. As a result general purpose research is overly underfinanced in universities, if at all.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit Preparedness: European Commission adopts final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget

The journey begins – 2021 is the European Year of Rail!

Three experts on why eradicating plastic pollution will help achieve gender equality

Informal meeting of heads of state or government, Sibiu, 09/05/2019

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into public support for expansion of LG Chem’s electric vehicles battery plant in Poland

Rising number of young people excluded from jobs, education and training

Iran protests: Live ammunition reportedly used, says UN human rights office

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €5.6 billion out of €6 billion now allocated in support of refugees

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Is there a cure for corruption in Greece?

COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and their challenges

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

US-EU trade negotiations: pointless tariffs against real economic growth

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

How powering food storage could end hunger

What are antibody tests and can they get the world back to work?

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

A new European banking space is born this year

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

JADE Spring Meeting 2016 highlights

European research priorities for 2021-2027 agreed with member states

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part II)

We need to rethink cybersecurity for a post-pandemic world. Here’s how

COVID-19 amplifies inequality. Fight back with long-term thinking

How COVID-19 vaccine efforts could help defeat other diseases

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

Young people are key to defusing unrest and restoring public trust

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

The reskilling revolution can transform the future of work for women

European Defence Fund: EU funds new joint research and industrial projects

Coronavirus Global Response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge supports Venezuela

Search Engine neutrality in Europe in danger: Are 160.000 Google filtering requests good enough?

Why we need different generations in the workplace

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

Use space technology to build a better world for all, urges UN chief

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

EU cracks under the weight of its policy on the Ukraine-Russia nub

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

Climate Change : An Already Health Emergency

10 reasons to be optimistic for the future, from young change-makers

COVID-19 practices are constantly changing – this app helps emergency doctors cope

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

Scourge of slavery still claims 40 million victims worldwide, ‘must serve as a wakeup call’

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

Why the UK government must do more to boost green revolution

UN chief praises Africa for keeping ‘hearts and borders open’ in refugee crisis

OK computer: why the machine age still needs humans

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

TTIP 9th Round marked by American disappointment: Will some optimism save this trade agreement?

As Dubai switches on its first 5G, what is all the fuss about?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s