Under new government proposals, students without pass grades in GCSE maths and English will be blocked from accessing university loans. The whole education system is rigged. We need to fight for free education, funded by expropriation.
According to the Tories’ new plan for university education, applicants who don’t pass GCSE English and maths will no longer be eligible for student loans. This disgraceful policy will effectively block off a quarter of young people from getting into university.
Not only will many university students have to shoulder lifelong debt, but should these plans go ahead, some will now be expected to pay £9,250 upfront every year if they want a degree. For most people, this is impossible.
This new policy will therefore further stifle working-class students’ access to education, unfairly barring those whose parents can’t afford to pay massive university fees.
This is a class question. As the exam results fiasco during the pandemic highlighted, the whole education system is rigged.
There is a strong correlation between students’ wealth and the likelihood that they pass their GCSEs in the first place. The wealthiest 20% of society, having access to the highest-quality education, are five times more likely to pass their GCSEs than the poorest 20%.
This latest Tory proposal will therefore hit working-class students the hardest: a direct consequence of the class disparity intrinsic to capitalism, reflecting the difference in economic and social conditions between the wealthiest in society and the poorest.
Despite all their talk of ‘meritocracy’ and ‘social mobility’, the Tories in fact continue to perpetuate a rigid class system – in education, and throughout society.
These changes to student loans and GCSE grades are blatantly classist and will disproportionately benefit students from private schools and those who can pay for extra tuition. It is disgraceful to see anyone try to defend them. https://t.co/DPLjsL2vMp
— zac (@zbatesfisher) February 24, 2022
This new plan is yet another example of how the poor are being made to pay for the crisis of capitalism, while the rich hoard money to spend on private education. This is a war on the working class, and students are experiencing the effects of this in their own lives.
This issue brings to the fore the logic of privatisation and the consequences of the marketisation of higher education.
Whilst working-class students are being shut out of higher education, universities have been happily opening their doors to big business for the last decade.
This first and foremost affects the arts and humanities, as seen at Goldsmiths, where the English and History department are facing mass cuts and forced redundancies.
The process began with the introduction of tuition fees in 1998. Their steady increase – eventually jumping to £9,000 in 2010 – marked a decisive shift. In fact, in the 23 years that have passed since this legislative change, tuition fees have increased by 825 per cent.
By introducing this barrier of a pass in maths and English GCSEs, the government is simply following a process that has been set in motion for many years: transforming universities into a source of profits for the capitalists, not institutions of learning for ordinary people.
This is a policy that will limit the development of society overall. Education should be free and accessible for all who want it, throughout their lives.
The current system, by contrast, simply churns out students into a depleted job market, with lifelong debt weighing on their shoulders.
The resources exist to facilitate a thorough, wide-reaching education system that would allow people to pursue their interests freely, and fulfil their full potential.
Under capitalism, however, these resources remain in private hands, with a small minority of billionaires holding the power to drastically limit the opportunities afforded to the working class.
Access to higher education will become narrower and narrower so long as we are bound by the profit motive, the limits of the market, and the interests of capitalism. The only real way to end this cycle is to overturn the system entirely.