We are a business

The interests of the people who simply want to live their lives are put on the back-burner as those who pledge to represent us try to run this country as a business. This goes from the constant belief that the balance sheets have to be evened out, even at the cost of the livelihoods and standard of living of those they are meant to be acting on the behalf of. This is not just judgements made by government bodies but by other public institutions.

British universities, long before the cuts to higher education, have been stretching far and wide for potential international students to profiteer from. There are so many universities these days that public funding is not enough to run all of these costly institutions, and funding has to come from somewhere. And to that extent I understand the need to at least break even. The optimum level of income should be at normal profit for contingency reasons, for instance higher running costs or maintenance in the future. 

But this is not what universities are doing. Sussex alone made £13.8 million in the last academic year, yet tries to justify making cuts in the services sector for money saving purposes. Sussex is a very small university relative to the lights of Nottingham and Manchester. Nottingham University beginning in 2000 began to outsource their education to international branches in Malaysia and China, giving local students a taste of British education without leaving their country. These students are still charged international fees and have the opportunity to go to Nottingham to study as a part of the degree, it is effectively an in-house twinning programme. These programmes are not rare in this part of the world. 

In a way, it gives talented students a means into the British education system, which before hand they would have never been able to afford. But it still attracts an elite, unless one is extremely lucky to receive a scholarship. But it shows that a public institution such as Nottingham University that accepts government funding are trying to run their institution as an expansionist business. Students are now seen as clients instead of a source of intellectual ability. It does not harness the pure purpose of university: To provide an education beyond the textbook and to allow the individual student to research and come up with innovative, new ideas. The only way universities see themselves able to survive is to run as a business, and demand is ever-growing due to lack of alternatives. 

The solution is to simply have less universities and more access into employment for the youth in the UK. Universities are essentially a place of research and innovation, not a assembly line of identically minded young adults to exit with a piece of paper. It should be industry and other public institutions specialising in specific skills that supply vocational skills to those who are not academically inclined or interested. At the moment, for many there is no alternative to university.

With this those who are serious about learning and what to contribute to their field of study can study at a university free of charge, and hopefully will not have to be too concerned of that university’s reputation. Whilst the rest can do what they want to do without being in debt for the rest of their working lives. 

The Sussex Asian Affairs Society

For once the social sciences is not dictated by western ideals. Yes, a group of Asian IR and ID students are setting up a society to discuss problems that are facing us today from a eastern prospective. With an array of potential speakers, film viewings and debates, we hope that everyone will see culture from a different perspective. It is not going to be all serious, there will be lots of food of course; and the odd silly film and discussions.

insecurity

Being in the situation that I’m in, I’d rather have a clear path to take but it’s not the case being a young person in this day and age. I stupidly took a course that I was hopeless at, well I could have done better if circumstances were different but then again I say that every time. I’m going to do International Relations in hope that it will bring me better fortune and yes: so that I can pursue something that I am actually good at rather than a career of convenience. Evidence weigh favourably to the motion that really it doesn’t matter what you study at university it is purely the sake of getting a degree that matters. Besides I can always go back and study maths once I’ve got my wits about me, I reckon I could do well at it if I wasn’t so bloody miserable all the time. I can’t say I did that horrifically considering I only showed up to half the classes, I really don’t have it in me to retake the year now. I barely have any confidence but I have confidence that I would be better at this new course. We shall see what happens.