A certain author celebrated his 200th birthday this week, his name was of course Charles Dickens and his literacy legacy in the English language is one that is hard to match. Dickens lived in a very different world than ours. In his day university education was a privilege only granted to the rich elites of society.
However, there is a danger that with undergraduate tuition fees going up to a possible £9,000 per term for students in the UK, that universities will once again become accessible by only those wealthy enough to afford it.
This concern for the education of the most disadvantaged in our society was echoed by the schools minister Nick Gibbs who was quoted this week in the Guardian as saying that “despite two centuries of technological and social revolution, there are still shadows of Charles Dickens’s world in our own”.
We, at Examtime, recognise the massive difficulties that the current economic downturn has had on the funding available to third level students. And we think that the internet can help disadvantaged students access a greater range of content and support than ever before.
The ability to find excellent learning materials through the course of online study is something that is only going to become more prevalent for all third level students. We firmly believe that advances in technology can help students with less financial resources at their disposal gain the same level of education as their more wealthy counterparts.
As you are now able to share coursework, key texts, revision notes and essays remotely over the internet, online study and revision has never been as accessible or as effective as it is now.
The internet is allowing students to access a much wider range of content and tools than was possible in the past. This can lead to students getting the support they need with less spend on resources required. At Examtime we firmly believe in enabling these opportunities and are working towards bringing education tools to all.
The increase in third level fees will effect students from England the most severely. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish students are entitled to a significant reduction in fees if they stay in their country to study. And Welsh students are in an even better position as the Welsh assembly partially funds Welsh students studying in any part of the UK.
So if you are English student and you think you are getting a raw deal from the Government, write to your local MP and ask them to bring the issue up in parliament. One voice cannot change anything, but if you all shout together then some people may take notice.
Obviously we at Examtime want to encourage every third level student reading this to get the best out of their time in higher education. It’s very tough in the job market out there at the moment and the very least you need to get ahead these days is a good primary degree.
So let us know how the changes in third level fees are going to affect you. Are you being squeezed by additional charges? Or are you lucky enough to be Northern Irish, Scottish or Welsh and have managed to avoid a massive bill once you collect your degree.
If you are still not sure as to how this change will affect you have a look at this link. It includes a breakdown of what the main universities in the UK will be charging. There is also a student finance calculator, better not show that to the folks as you will definitely need some beer money!