I had an idea for contributing effectively to changing the structure of education-related decision-making (that could be used elsewhere). It’s still a very hazy, undeveloped concept, but the basic idea is to use the tools that defend the status quo against it to achieve change. Take a look at this BBC News article: “Thousands march in student protest over university fees”, for instance:
Students are protesting because they object to increases in the cost of university degrees. They are clearly disillusioned with the status quo, and unhappy about the point that the university fee issue has reached.
The political elite tend to deny the possibility of change, in this case lower fees, by claiming it’s not feasible “in this economy”. The social factor is always spoken about (“help future generations etc etc”), but usually ignored in favour of the more pressing economic issues.
The tools used to justify the situation, namely economic principles, could be used by the protesters themselves to counter the arguments made by those in power. What about a little supply-and-demand to adjust the prices of university fees?
The idea, specifically, was set off by this graph:
Which I had initially thought was a graph showing the face-value costs of a university degree. So what if it was?
- What if one was to take a survey of the views of university staff (academic and administrative) regarding what would be an ‘acceptable’ tuition fee?
- What if one was to then do the same kind of survey with university (or university-aged) students, across a variety of disciplines, socio-economic backgrounds, and degree types, and ask what they would be willing to pay for their degrees?
- Finally, what if one were to take the actual cost of a university degree today?
My guess is you would end up with responses that, when graphed, would look something like this:
When represented by a simply supply-demand graph, you would likely see that the status quo is not operating at a point of equilibrium. Furthermore, simplistic economic analysis would suggest a shift in the supply of university education, such that it would allow a greater proportion of the population into higher education (an increased equilibrium quantity), while reducing the overall cost of a university degree (reduction in equilibrium prices).
So, spread the word. Throw in a bit of intellectualism to general protesting.
Agitate. Educate. Organise.
Spread the powerful slogans.
Contribute to a more equitable future.