Thursday February 05, 2004 13:25 by Lindsay Furness X_Lay at hotmail dot com
Totnes MP Anthony Steen is of the opinion that creativity is no loger a valid contribution in today\'s society......
With the student fees top-up bill being passed at the end of January where does this now leave students? With a massive £36\'000 debt upon graduation. This is an estimate for a 3 year degree course in 2006. This system will discourage poorer, bright students from attending university due to the debt burden. This effects everyone not just current students. Your children, grandchildren, siblings or yourself may wish to one day attend. Is education not the foundation to any society and doesn\'t everyone have an equal right to that opportunity?
Kate Walshaw The Student union president of Dartington College of Arts wrote to her local conservative MP Anthony Steen, and was shocked at his response to this issue. He is very much in favour of Top-up fees. It seems he is also of the opinion that creativity is no longer a valid contribution in today\'s society.
\"The so called \"mickey mouse\" courses-in media studies, surfing, and knitwear, to name just a few- are diverting funding from the academically rigorous courses, those which offer professional career opportunities.\" [Anthony Steen 14/1/2004]
He did however offer a solution to the problem.
\"My argument is that we do not need so many students going to university, when many could secure thriving careers in plumbing, plastering and mechanics.\" [Anthony Steen 14/1/2004]
Yes these are no doubt valid professions but why should the poor and artistic be left only with the option of pursuing these careers, rather than being able to pursue their creativity through a degree. His entire letter reeked of an obsolete classist view that so many people have been striving to break down over the last few decades
\" Why have the labour government not fulfilled any of there promises to students, they have just conditioned us into paying more and more for our education. They have promised tax breaks and an easier system to use, none of which has materialised. All that\'s been done is the bill for top-up fees. With a £36\'000 debt mortgages any credit purchases in the future will be almost impossible.\"[Kate Walshaw Student Union president Dartington College of Arts 4/2/2004]
With the national day of action being planned on Wednesday 25th of February students are planning pickets across the UK. At Dartington College of Arts students will be encouraged to where price labels for the day listing there current student debt to bring home the cost of education.
To find out more about the NUS action go to www.stopfeesnow.com
To have your say to Anthony Steen MP Email Steena@parliament.uk
To talk to myself or Kate for further details or a full copy of the letter from Anthony Steen Email firstname.lastname@example.org