|recession impacts on education|
the consequences of the capitalist crisis continue to unfold before our eyes,
it is becoming clear just how much of an impact this recession is having on
education. The main focus of this article
is on just how much of an impact debt forced on parents is having on their
children’s education and therefore their future.
knows exactly how much public money is being squandered on the bank bail-outs
but most agree the figures could run into trillions.
brings to mind a very simple question – why should the working class be made to
pay for the bosses mistakes? It is a
simple question which should make many bankers blush (and therefore ignore as a
result!). Once that question is raised
some may just accept that ‘that’s life’. Most people do not see a way out of
the crisis, and so will keep their heads down and hope the crisis doesn’t knock
on their door. A real lead should be shown by the
labour movement but this doesn’t seem to be forthcoming, especially after
twelve years of Blair and Brown. While state hand-outs to the bankers
and their bonuses is acceptable press, any suggestion
of nationalising say Woolworths, Visteon or Vestas in the interests of working
people’s jobs is a closed book whilst big business calls the shots.
we are left in a situation where the bankers and bosses are given a golden pat
on the head when they ruin people’s livelihoods in the name of profit. The
recession then subjects ordinary people to cut backs in public services – or
even worse – redundancy. The chain of
negative events does not end there; it is passed onto the next generation.
A poll produced for Yougov on 11th August 2009 and widely reported
in the press said that 43% of parents on an average wage or below are likely to
have problems buying school uniforms for their children. Over half said they
would be cutting back on essentials such as paying bills or food in order to
meet back-to-school costs.
For families on incomes
below £12,000 a year, over half said they are likely to have problems buying
new shoes while a quarter say they will have to miss out on buying their
children a winter coat.
Research has shown that almost 57% of local councils no longer
provide the clothing grants that many low-income families rely upon to buy
school uniforms with – despite the 1996 Education Act requiring councils to
help families afford school uniforms so children aren’t disadvantaged.
the recession many parents have had to cut back on financial expenditure for
their children such as after-school clubs and
educational school outing.
you think of ‘state schools’, it is natural to assume that this means schools
are free but there are many hidden costs. The statistics released by the
Department for Children, Schools and Families demonstrate the reality of ‘free
education’. To send a child to a state primary school it will cost the parents
on average £683, and to send a child to a state secondary school it is £1,200
every year. The financial leap from Primary
School to Secondary School is quite large as shown by the data above. This is
because there is a larger list of items and expenses parents must consider such
as PE uniforms, school uniform, stationary equipment, school meals and school
trips. Indeed such is the pressure on
poor families that Newham council is piloting a scheme to give free school
meals to all primary kids – no doubt the Tories, if elected, will cut this
To demonstrate how the profit motive is embodied in the education
system, we can look at one small example that I personally came across – the
fee to see your exam paper once it’s marked.
Even though our taxes pays for state school students like myself to sit
the exams, we then have to pay a fee of roughly £20 just to see the exam paper
we wrote after its been marked and even then its only a photocopy! So if you want to find out where you dropped
marks, or what you need to improve on, you have to pay to see the paper which
you wrote and in effect you paid for. I
had to prioritise which exam paper I wanted back, as I was not going to pay £20
each for all my exams! So, in some cases students just have to accept they got
that particular grade and not find out why – surely this is NOT the principle
of education. This made me realise exam
boards did not have just one role, to mark papers, but they also have a secondary
role – making profit out of the education process. As commercial organisations they have an
objective to make money rather than playing a fruitful role in the education
system. The reality is that big business believes the purpose of exams is not
to show how well people are learning but to divide people into groups suitable
for selection for employment. In other words they need people to fail. This is
one reason for the constant campaign against the current exam systems and the
high numbers of people who pass with good grades each year. This has to be
changed, and only a socialist system would be willing to accept that this
change is needed.