Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Michael Gove- Education Secretary - Villain? Oh no he isn't! Oh yes he is!

Pantomime season is here!
Well to be honest it's been here since the Elections in May! Coalition government, U turns on policies, raised tuition fees, slashing spending where it could make a difference! 
I have a few teacher friends... One suggested I caricature...
Michael Gove MP for Surrey.
Specifically an education secretary depriving children of their books! 
Nasty Man! .......Boo! .......Hiss!
I hadn't really seen any pictures of him before he was suggested. Imagine my delight to find he looks like a startled rabbit caught in headlights! Check is publicity shot here!
Oooh Joy! He's going to be easy to caricature!
I don't normally do political. 
But with the Tuition fees scandal and other education cuts...! I must say something. I'd never have done any further education without a grant! *
Any society that skimps on education is storing up trouble for the future! 

Anyway, back to Michael. At this point I feel I must confess. I watched "Shrek Forever after", with the family over Christmas. And...
Rumplestiltskin is playing heavily on my mind.

I knew what I should do!

Michael Gove looking like Rumplestiltskin, juggling books!
I found a suitably villainous looking photograph and it all fell into place. Voila!


But, I can't quite explain how he's turned out like a court jester? Except that in my mind they all dress the same! OK?

So an Education Secretary depriving children of their books! Or is he juggling the books! I think it's open to a few interpretations! Don't You?

Whatever he might be doing, the people aren't happy!

Rant Alert!
*Excuse my indulgence but it's a topic that's important to me! I know my circumstances were not the worst, but I feel some explanation is required.

In order to go through occupational therapy training...  I'd have had to work full time to earn enough to cover living costs and tuition fees. Assuming I could get a job in a record unemployment situation.
My course was full time, with placements during the day. At one point I was doing night shifts. I moved town every 3 months during my second year!
My evenings were spent on coursework and studying. I did not lead a decadent life! And I struggled to get through as it was!
In short, any more pressure and I would have failed! And no money equals pressure!

When could I have worked? What employer would have taken me on with those circumstances? When there were plenty of others with my level of skills willing and able to work to suit the employer? I was in Oxford, a small city with a large University.

My parents were unable to help financially! I'd just lost my father after a long illness. With years on Sickness Benefits prior to that. 
My mother had been his primary carer! Going back to work during a period of record unemployment with no recent work history...she couldn't get a job!

The wealthy know the value of education and will spend on it. Even still, I had a friend who's wealthy parents refused to pay for her upkeep at university! Why? Due to a petty argument the night before she left!
I have another who was holding down 2 jobs because his funding was cut. He failed his coursework and had to drop out because he was too tired to study! He finally finished his studies 3 years ago some 10 years later!

Those who don't have money may see the benefit of further education, but are more terrified of the debt!  It's not just the money but the psychological effect on a population who already feel they won't amount to much!
Why, because it's reinforced by their subculture. A study into the rich/poor divide was published by the BBC last week! Says it all really!
In other words, It's not just that they won't go, they can't go!

In my experience the lazy and disruptive  university students were the ones whose parents could bail them out! I did mention that I studied in Oxford didn't I...? Although not at the University. Those of us who had no fallback support knuckled down and appreciated what an opportunity and privilege we had!

I believe every child/teenager has the right to good education and that poor students with ability should have enough financial backing so they can experience further education.
We pay more in the long term. Both financially and through lost benefits to society. Can we really afford that?
Alan Bennett, for example has already said he'd never have gone to university in the current climate! 
The poorest countries are those with the poorest education provision for the poor... and that's no coincidence! 

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