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Entries by tag: education

That was my life, that was

There is very little to say about this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/07/job-losses-universities-cuts

That is our future. That cracking you hear, that snapping and creaking and plunging. That's all the hours and lives, all the thoughts and discoveries, all the words and explorations that are not considered worthwhile. That's the pennies falling, one by one, to pay for bank bailouts and bonuses, for buy-outs and and all those things that are valued in hard cash terms.
Knowledge in all fields is priceless. If we step back to weigh and measure those fields, if we place utilitarian values on them, we all lose.
My own field -- former field -- is tiny. There is very little left of it to be cut. (But bear in mind that I was not replaced, that my kind are ageing and not being replaced.) But languages matter as much as sciences -- what do we learn when we impose our monoglot ignorance? -- History matters as much as engineering -- roots matter. Reasons matter. History gives you those. (Anyone trying to start the 'science funding is more important' argument will be summarily de-friended. I mean it. That's another of those conversations I have had too often and will not have again. We are equally valuable.)
I suspect I'm preaching to the converted here, but when you look at education and see only a privilege to be suspected and eroded and de-funded, you are already in the shadow of failure. You're already closing down your children's futures. Universities are a soft target: in the UK, the government pretty much holds a monopoly on them. They're easy to penalise, and it's easy to pretend it only hurts the 'privileged'. But it filters down, and most of those hurt won't be the rich the tabloids assume. They'll go anyway. The losers are the rest of us. The losers are the ones like me whose family aren't rich, who did not have a private education or special tutoring or contacts. The comprehensive school girl who went to Cambridge and left with a PhD and then stayed on to teach the new generations and to write the new books. Was that privilege? I'm not sure. I worked in universities already denuded by years of underfunding and 'efficiency gains' started by the Tories. I earned less than anyone else I knew, apart from those few also in the public sector. I worked till I broke. But I did love the learning. And that, if anything, was the only 'privilege' -- the opportunity to learn, an opportunity we all deserve to have and that this new measure is restricting even further.

I have a temperature and a cough and everything aches. But this? This was my life. I don't take such things kindly.

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