Tag Archives: education

Free education and the Liberal Democrats: a student’s perspective

A student member of the Anarchist Federation’s account of the Lib Dems’ promise on university tuition fees and the lessons learned.

Living in Sheffield at the time of the last election, I saw that there was massive voter turn-out and support for the Lib Dems amongst students. A tangible optimism and excitement existed in Nick Clegg’s constituency. Personally, I spoiled my ballot paper with, ‘If voting changed anything they’d make it illegal’. However, I did wonder whether a Lib-Dem rise could contest the New Labour/Conservative stalemate of neoliberal similarity.

Clegg now sports a satisfaction rating of minus-40 (Mori survey). This is well deserved. Instead of capping tuition fees he has overseen them triple to £9,000. Young people among many others who voted Lib-Dem have been left disillusioned by this, becoming disengaged from politics. What has been proven is not that young people are not interested in politics, but that politicians are not interested in young people.

Debt

I was lucky and only had to pay £3,000/year in fees. But I now owe the Students Loan Company £23,000. This increases by at least £30 a month due to interest, which started whilst I was still at university! I am persistently being hassled by them checking if I’m earning enough yet to start paying it back.

Neo-liberalisation

When I finished university I wanted to continue studying. However, funding for a social science Master’s degree is rare and most students are self-funded. I couldn’t stand the thought of incurring more debt by taking out a loan, so I gave up on the idea. I moved home and worked in a café trying to get out of my overdraft. I found out that there are no tuition fees in Sweden for EU citizens. I applied to Stockholm University and got in, paying living costs with money I’d earned in the café. I then found out I could return to the UK on an Erasmus exchange, avoiding tuition fees and even getting an EU grant!

This illustrates the lengths that you have to go to if you come from a background where higher education is unaffordable. Furthermore, it has taught me that a free education is feasible, but cannot be accomplished by relying on political parties and the establishment. The neo-liberalisation of higher education has proliferated under the Coalition. Education is becoming the preserve of the upper-middle-class. Research too must now be ‘competitive’, not expressing critical, independent thought.

To contest this, to strive for free education, the only way is to self-organise! The demise of the Lib-Dems has shown we cannot rely on any political party to deliver this. This is why we argue ‘Don’t Vote – Organise!’

 

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Education as the Practice of Freedom (talk/discussion)

Wednesday 17th September
18:45 – 21:00
Fred Paton Centre, 19 Carrington Street, Glasgow, G4 9AJ.
Facebook | Map

“There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes “the practice of freedom,” the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Paulo Freire

Anarchists have a long and illustrious history of involvement within education, with interventions in libertarian education as notable as Ferrer’s Escuela Moderna, and the Free Skools, right through into the contemporary spaces of Social Centres. As a movement, Anarchism has historically emphasised the importance of the role of education – whether as a domesticating tool of oppression or as a prefiguring and liberating force – with a concern rarely echoed in other political perspectives.

While naturally touching on some of that history, this talk will mainly be concerned with the understanding that radicalism presents us with a fundamentally educational space, and will consider this in light of the work of Paulo Freire, among others. Though identifying outside of the specific Anarchist tradition, Freire’s work within Popular Education can be easily understood as broadly libertarian, and with implications and prospects for Anarchism.

Though the talk will highlight the role of informal education, contributions and reflections on all modes are welcome and expected in the discussion following.

Glasgow AF discussion group is open and free to all, however any donations towards costs will be appreciated. Tea/coffee/juice/biscuits will be provided free of charge. Our venue is accessible to wheelchairs/powerchairs. We will also have a book stall from the RiB project with books and other related material for sale. We ask that all those attending this event read the brief introduction to our safer spaces policy here.

CANCELED: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Hi folks, due to unforeseen circumstances this talk has had to be cancelled. We will reschedule soon. Apologies for the short notice.

Wed 19th February
18:45 – 21:00
Fred Paton Centre, 19 Carringdon Street, Glasgow, G4 9AJ.
Facebook | Map

“There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes “the practice of freedom,” the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Paulo Freire

Anarchists have a long and illustrious history of involvement within education, with interventions in libertarian education as notable as Ferrer’s Escuela Moderna, and the Free Skools, right through into the contemporary spaces of Social Centres. As a movement, Anarchism has historically emphasised the importance of the role of education – whether as a domesticating tool of oppression or as a prefiguring and liberating force – with a concern rarely echoed in other political perspectives.

While naturally touching on some of that history, this talk will mainly be concerned with the understanding that radicalism presents us with a fundamentally educational space, and will consider this in light of the work of Paulo Freire, among others. Though identifying outside of the specific Anarchist tradition, Freire’s work within Popular Education can be easily understood as broadly libertarian, and with implications and prospects for Anarchism.

Though the talk will highlight the role of informal education, contributions and reflections on all modes are welcome and expected in the discussion following.

Method_Paulo_Freire

Glasgow AF discussion group is open and free to all, however any donations towards costs are appreciated. Tea/coffee/juice/biscuits will be provided free of charge. Our venue is accessible to wheelchairs/powerchairs. We ask that all those attending this event read the first page of our safer spaces policy here.