Saturday, 7 February 2009

Scottish Labour Students' Campaign

This is just a short post to note that at today's Scottish Labour Students' Council Meeting it was resolved that the priority campaign for 2009 will be entitled:

"The Campaign to End Student Poverty - A Response to the Scottish Government's [Higher Education] Support Review"

Which, briefly, is a campaign based on the belief that it is possible to secure a minimum income of £7,000 a year for students in Scotland. And that students should not have to live on the cusp of poverty, but should, through governmental support, be able to maintain a standard of "socially acceptable living" in line with research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

More details will be published as they arise. Also I would like to note that the Scottish Labour Students website is expected to be online in the not too distant future.


  1. I've never seen a student in poverty.

  2. thants because lots of them drop out when the only thing stopping them is financial concerns.

  3. @Anonymous 1, I think Anonymous 2 makes a good point. A lot of students who have serious finance either drop out or have to deal with their financial problems after building up huge debts during their time in university.

    May I ask also where you have met students, because the situation differs by university and even within a single university there will be a range from students who have plenty of money to students who are barely scraping by.

    An important part of Scotland's contribution to the world is through intellectual achievements. An effective way of ensuring the strength of the Scottish economy in the future is to strengthen education and ensure that our universities are able to have the best students. Which means making sure that poverty is not a barrier to education.

  4. Whilst I agree that 'poverty' should not be a barrier to education, I do not believe in social engineering or devaluing the university degree.

    I believe a considerable proportion of those dropping out of university is due to academic not financial reasons. Some people are just not ready or able for the challenge.

    Moreover, how do you intend on funding this pie-in-the-sky minimum income, especially since so many people enter higher education these days? Perhaps if you looked at cutting back the numbers of those going to university so that only those who have the academic ability - regardless of family background - can study at university.

    I don't think Scotland's economy would be harmed by trimming the numbers of students who have a clutch of C grade Highers studying mickey mouse degrees.

  5. I love a good debate over student finance, so here is the submission of the old guy in the club.

    Firstly yes it is true that people drop of university for a number of reasons, some because they cant hack it some because they realise they don’t actually like the subject they are doing and others because of changes in personal circumstances.

    I myself started at one university and moved to another after a year, but it also has to be noted that many do drop out due to financial hardships.

    The hardship in question can be caused by lets say not being able to pay a fortune in rent because of a housing shortage in the area (some club members will know who im talking about).

    It might be because of a cut in childcare provision, just Google the nus campaign on the parent trap to see what im talking about.

    So there are 2 reasons why financial hardship forces some to leave and indeed why a minimum income guarantee is maybe worth looking at.

    In one of the comments the question is raised about cutting back the numbers who go to uni and a comment about people who have a clutch of c grade highers not getting in, well to this bit all I will say is that I have no highers, I have 2 o grades and as a mature student I went and got an HND at a diddy college but now I am close to finishing my MA in history at a great uni.

    Should I not have got the opportunity to study because over all the time I worked I paid for YOUR uni education so now it’s my turn?

    The last point is how we fund it, who knows as its a hard question which has to be looked at without the interference of politics and sound bytes but to the debate I will add one suggestion, lets mutualise the student loan book, make student loans self financing and then we can implement a proper income guarantee.

  6. What is the problem in getting a job to supplement one's income whilst studying? I did it. Perhaps cutting back the hours downing pints of Tennants Lager at The Bobbin could also help a students finances.

    Some students really need to stop whingeing and expecting something for nothing.

    May I suggest a few policies of the top of my head for you Comrades:

    1) Scrap the ridiculous policy of having 50% of young people entering higher education;
    2) Stop pushing young people toward the academic route to the detriment of vocational options;
    3) Look at merging and/or scrapping failing institutions

    In regard to the comment, "Should I not have got the opportunity to study because over all the time I worked I paid for YOUR uni education so now it’s my turn?"

    I don't think taxpayers - many of whom have never went/chose to go to university - appreciate paying for the education of those who provide no real benefit to society as a whole (e.g those doing Media Studies, Golf Course Management or Windsurfing Studies at Bangor University).

  7. nothing wrong with getting a job at uni but when its not possible because you are lets say looking after kids then surely that might be a hurdle to participation.

    As for the 3 examples you mentioned in can we add philosophy, anthrapology and lets say celtic studies, i doubt they have much business benefit but at the same time are vital to allowing us to understand how the world works.

    The three that you mentioned anonymous all have potential business benefits to society.

    As for this idea of limiting space at uni what next stopping people from state schools getting in as trust me when you limit space then all you do is make it harder for those at the lower end to achieve the marks they need to get in and trust me on this one they are not stupid they just dont have the same oppertunities.

  8. Labour didn't make it easy for those of modest means to succeed by scrapping the Assisted Places Scheme so soon after taking office.

    I support the best and brightest going to university - whatever their background (I am a product of a "bog standard comp" to use the words of Alasdair Campbell).

    Considerable numbers of graduates end up in jobs that don't require a degree anyway.