Thursday, 30 October 2008

Education, Education, Education unless you can’t afford the co-payment

ND is still a grunt. ND has worked his way up through the ranks and is proud that ND has done so. ND is now in the privileged position of being able to teach medical students and junior doctors at various stages of their training. ND enjoys this as it is a rewarding two way process. ND teaches them and they teach ND in the new ways of medicine.

Over the many years ND has seen many students from many different backgrounds from many different nationalities and all have been bright and enthusiastic. ND did not come from a privileged background and managed through hard work and ingenuity to break even at the end of medical school. Statistically ND should not have got where ND did. ND relates to the students who say that “I am the first of my family to get to University” or “I am from a working class family”.

One of the biggest complaints from NDs’ students is that of money. Our new Drs are leaving medical school with thousands of pounds of debt before they start to earn. Anyone in general practice knows what debt does to people. It is not nice. NDs’ team are sympathetic and will often allow students a little lea way from a 10 hour day to catch trains early so that they can get back to jobs to fund their education. This is very much the American way but not the traditional UK method of medical training.

Education, Education, Education was a catch phrase of our former Prime Minister and is entirely justified and a noble aspiration. ND believes that a meritocracy where the best, regardless of background, are trained to achieve the best in whatever they are good at is a noble ideal. This should, ideally, be provided for by the State in order to help the State, and its people, further as those that benefit from it will ultimately repay the State via taxation.

The previous Labour administration had maintenance grants which were abolished under subsequent administrations. Now students have a variety of sources of funding to help them on their way. Medical education is now very expensive for students and their families.

ND was not pleased to hear on the radio as ND drove through the dark wilds of Northernshire that the Party are reducing student funding due to their miscalculation. This will only have one effect.

It will reduce the variety of people applying to do medicine. Those who are able, but not affluent, will be put off. This will increase the selection of those going to medical school and further limit medicine to the able and affluent and thus reduce the variety of characters becoming Drs and deny opportunity to talented but not affluent people.

A few days ago a former deputy Prime Minister was bemoaning the fact that 7% of the population who go through private education get 80% of the top jobs because of money. I am sure that he will be pleased that those who go onto higher education particularly medical school will now have to be increasingly affluent rather than able.

ND does not think this is a good move and it would seem easier to get to and through medical school a few years ago coming from a less affluent background than it is now. This is not progress it is a slow return to an old world that was not necessarily a better one in terms of fostering talent and advancing people through education. ND and family all benefited from educational opportunity but looking at today’s times and opportunities doubt that they could have achieved what they did in the past today.

That is not progress it is preservation of the ancien regime by the Party many of whose children will be in the 7% going through private education. George Orwell was right about matters porcine and these things many years ago.

How little have we progressed and how far backward are we going?

No comments: