In these modern times when everything has a price and we’re told to get real and stump up for state sponsored ‘advantages’, isn’t it time that the government and its unofficial tax collectors also changed their attitude towards us “customers”?
I’m thinking about education and the ever increasing university tuition fees. Setting aside the false premise that a degree equals higher pay (what happens if half the workforce has one?), you’re still expected to jump through academic hoops to qualify to spend your hard earned cash.
Darling daughter already has an eye-watering student loan debt to repay and wants to add to it by studying for a postgraduate qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at MMU. The price set by the university for the 12 month course is £3,600, but to be accepted, she has to complete all sorts of paperwork, including a personal statement about why she should be allowed to enrol.
Sorry? If someone is prepared to pay for a product or service, why should they have to demonstrate anything other than that they have the wherewithal to pay the piper?
They might not be suited to an academic life and drop out, but should that bar them? I might be a rubbish driver who likes speeding after drinking after supping ten pints of Old Peculier, but that isn’t going to stop a salesman from flogging me a car.
And when we bought our new telly in the New Year sales, Comet didn’t ask me for a personal statement to demonstrate my commitment to the Sony Bravia and my vocational aptitude for a life as a couch potato. All they wanted was my credit card details.
It’s time that the universities stopped kidding themselves that they are any different than any other service industry. They need to start thinking like the gyms that welcome new members full of New Year’s resolutions every January only to see them disappear after a few weeks. It’s all part of the business model.
They should rejoice in the students who drop out. After all, it’s bank statements they’re interested in these days, not personal ones.