I am supposed to be working hard on my final essay which is due in a few days, but I cannot focus unless I vent myself. Today the British coalition government won the right to raise tuition fees in England from approximately £3,290 a year to £9,000 a year, which has resulted in violent student protests all over London and the UK.
It is usually against my stubborn nature to protest or join any sort of grouping where a specific role or behaviour is being imposed upon me, preferring to do things solitary on my own terms rather than those of others. I am also not a radical left wing socialist who believe rich people should be punished and that everyone should be forced into equality – because we as individuals are not the same. However, I am a firm believer that everyone should have equal opportunities, and “Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward“. With raised tuition fees and correlating raised debts, I believe many people who are in a financially insecure position will refrain from taking on the opportunity to attend university. This is especially true for people from the European Union, who will find it a better option to study in their own countries where education is cheaper, or even free. I believe educated people is the best long-term investment a country can ever make, and with the loss of EU students, British education will also lose the biggest asset it has got and the reason for its brilliance – its unrivalled international, multicultural student community, which procures a positive antagonism which has taught me more about life and the world than 13 years at a Norwegian school ever did.
Some people from home call me spoiled, because I am an only child from a Norwegian middle class family who has been given the chance to be anything that I ever can be. But in a field where money is only a secondary issue, I worked hard all throughout secondary school and high school in order to get into UCL where you are accepted based on nothing but your own merits. For me, my good grades became my ticket out of a homogeneous, Norwegian suburbia and into the cosmopolitan melting pot that is London. London and UCL are my heart and soul, and I feel so sad for the prospective students, who like me, dreamt of coming here to study.
Hence, borrowing Valerie’s camera, I went down to Trafalgar to show my support for the (peaceful, not the violent) protesters.