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大学教育的含金量

 2011年,英国政府将大学学费的上限大幅提高,引发了社会的广泛讨论,有些人甚至认为这一政策让英国回到了“只有贵族才能读得起书”的时代,而政府坚称这一举措是为了“保证教学质量”,你的观点又是什么呢?

 

大学教育的含金量

 

 

 

 

金今 选 穆杨 译

 

For many students in the UK today, deciding whether or not to go to university can be as much about affordability as it is about ambition and aspiration.

In times gone by, students in the UK could apply to a university or college safe in the knowledge that, even if they came from a low income family, their tuition fees and some of their living(or maintenance) costs would be covered by a local authority grant. A university education was, in a financial sense, open to all and the number of students attending university grew year on year.

Sadly, it seems, those days are long gone. The turning point came in 1998, when the Labour Government introduced tuition fees of £1,000 a year and, instead of giving students a maintenance grant, asked them to cover their own living expenses with a repayable student loan. Only students on the lowest incomes were entitled to a grant.

The flood gates had been opened. As time passed, the ceiling on tuition fees rose, and although applicants from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales still qualified for varying levels of subsidy, by 2009/10 students in England often found themselves facing tuition fees in excess of £3,000 a year.

But the biggest change was still to come. In 2011 the Government announced that, from 2012, universities could charge fees of up to £9,000 a year. Although the Government sweetened the pill by stating that postgraduates did not have to begin repaying their student loans until they were earning more than £21,000 a year, the news created outrage. Many students argued that it was unfair that students should have to begin their work life saddled with huge debt, while others complained that the changes would bring back a class divide to university education. These views were reflected in the number of students applying for a university place, which by January 2012 fell by more than 22,000. The Universities Minister, David Willetts, stood by the decision to increase tuition fees, saying that they would not “put universities’ finance on a sustainable footing” and facilitate “a stronger focus on high quality teaching.”

对于今天英国的许多学生来说,决定是不是去上大学已经不仅仅关乎抱负与渴望,能不能上得起也是他们做出决定的重要因素。

过去,英国的学生可以申请大学,并且确信即使自己来自低收入家庭,学费和一部分生活费也可以由当地的政府部门拨款发放津贴解决。大学教育,从学费角度而言是对所有学生开放的,因此踏入大学校门的学生也逐年增多。

遗憾的是,那些日子一去不复返了。转折点发生在1998年,工党政府开始推行每年需缴1,000英镑大学学费的政策,并且不再向学生发放生活津贴,而是让他们通过需要偿还的学生贷款来解决生活费问题。只有来自最低收入家庭的学生才有资格得到补助。

这类政策一旦推行就会愈演愈烈。随着时间的推移,学费的上限也水涨船高,尽管来自苏格兰、北爱尔兰和威尔士的一些学生仍然够资格申请不同程度的补贴,但到了2009/10年度,英格兰的学生通常都要面临每年超过3,000英镑的学费支出。

但是更大的巨变还没有到来。到了2011年,政府宣布从2012年起,允许大学收取高至9,000英镑/年的学费。尽管政府为这一做法找的说辞是研究生可以在每年收入21,000英镑以前,不必偿还学生贷款,但这个消息还是触发了众怒。一些学生认为这种政策很不公平,会令他们刚刚开始工作就背上沉重的债务负担,还有学生认为这一政策会在加剧大学期间学生间的阶级分化现象。这些观点也在大学申请人数上反映了出来,到2012年1月,英国申请大学的人数下降了22,000人。英国高等教育大臣大卫•威列茨支持政府提高学费的决定,并称他们不会“把大学财政建立在学生可以付得起的基础上”,而是要全力促进大学“对于教学质量的关注”。


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