The Student Loans Company has always been an enigmatic public burden - a costly but necessary evil that allows Britain to foster young talent and train the leaders of tomorrow. In turn, these government-funded loans go on to perpetuate a forward-thinking attitude that willingly takes on the risk of investing in people rather than a plethora of tangible, short-term cash cows. Well, apparently the government has decided investing in people is no longer worth the risk...
What could be more outrageous than the undemocratic trebling of tuition fees, or the fundamentally anti-working class policy of scrapping EMA, denying thousands of poorer students their chance at further and higher education? After the attacks on FEs, raising fees for adult learners and axing half a million places, where could the coalition sink to next?
The government this week signed an agreement which means our looming energy crisis will be solved by nuclear power stations built by the French and owned, in part, by the Chinese. This demonstrates the impact of Britain's skills shortage and our lack of ambition. To top it all, they have warned us that the dearth of hi-tech engineering skills in our economy may hold them back. The skills shortage is not a problem confined to the crucially important energy sector, it's systemic. We need more engineers and scientists.
A second for-profit institution has been granted a university title, in a move which has raised "serious concerns" among higher education experts. ...
Youth unemployment is a tragic reality whatever the circumstance, but there is something especially unsavoury about young people who have been sold on the graduate life ideal, only to end up without a job and in debt. The mismarketing of higher education is one of the least commented-upon scandals of our time.
Many commentators have observed that the proposals seem at best an impractical use of resources and at worst deeply patronising. The complications of implementing the policy seem to make it a difficult one to advocate; is a child defined as poor if they attend a poor school or come from a poor family?
But we also have a balance between generations, with four roughly equally sized and culturally quite distinct adult cohorts co-existing - those born pre-1945, baby boomers, gen x and gen y. It's easy to miss this when we discuss our national demographic profile, because we tend to focus on how the population is ageing.