Warped, negative picture of youth

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IT WAS with great sadness that I read the letter, ‘University education a privilege many envy’ (Herald, January 8), as it painted such a warped and negative picture of our youth.

As someone who has taught right across the educational spectrum, I am aware that not all students take advantage of their opportunities, but most do and we should not penalise them for it.

The current legislation regarding tuition fees does just that. It is ill-considered and unjust.

I have two sons. My eldest is lucky. After four years, he will have a master’s degree in engineering with debts for fees at £14,000 (plus interest).

My younger son is not so lucky. If he pursues the science degree he desires, it will cost him between £18,000 and £27,000 in tuition plus living costs.

In other words, a great deal more than he can hope to recoup, in anything but the long term, should he be fortunate enough to find a good job.

Such a situation is ridiculous. As Britain is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, should we not be investing, like other European countries in our young people, knowing that we will benefit both them and ourselves from the enterprise?

An educated, professional population will bring prosperity through the advancement of research, technology and commerce.

These very skilled people will generally also earn salaries which pay higher taxes and thus support our tremendous social and health services.

A university education is indeed a privilege, but one which ultimately enriches the entire nation and not just the individual.

Therefore, do not envy the young their years of study, nor burden them with debt and worry, rather support and encourage them. After all, our future is in their hands.

Karen Costello-McFeat

Gore Park Avenue