LETTER: Mature debate about who pays

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We are about to have another election and already people are talking about their dislike of politicians and their dishonesty. In this category it is always the reneging on tuition fees for university that is cited.

Let us just pause there a moment and really think through payment for tuition.

To agree to back free tuition was possibly a mistake for which the Liberal Democrats have paid dearly.

As an aspiration it was commendable but in reality had little chance of being a possibility, especially when the state of the finances left by the previous administration was uncovered.

By being part of a coalition both parties, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, found themselves unable to fully deliver on their individual manifesto commitments, not dishonesty but realism.

Education, especially Higher Education, costs a lot of money but it is a myth to think that lecturers are paid very high salaries.

Some maybe but the majority of lecturers are not.

As a Senior Lecturer at Cambridge University I was paid less than most people doing far less demanding work.

I had to pay thousands of pounds of my own money to gain my MA and then my Doctorate, obligatory degrees if you wanted to further your career in teaching at university level and thus make your contribution to society.

Most people seem to be quite happy for footballers to be paid obscene amounts of money to kick a ball around an oversized lawn but do not want the best brains in the country to be paid what they are worth to help take the UK economy and society forward.

It is too easy to dismiss the problem through lazy thinking but I pose the question: Do you want the best brains of this generation to teach and inspire the best brains of the next generation?

If the answer is yes then the lecturers need to be well paid.

Failing to do this means that our young people will not be equipped to take the jobs society desperately requires, with all the consequences that brings.

If the ambition is that 50 per cent of young people should go to university then those lecturing to them must be the most able and therefore well paid.

This being the case the money has to come from somewhere.

Let us put the idea of free education at university level to rest and start to have a mature debate about who should pay and how.


Comptons Lane, Horsham