• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
Some of you may be aware that recently a change in law has been passed to reduce government spending to universities and charge fees to students from 2013. This issue has been causing lots of tension across the UK, with much protesting that has been turning violent.

Current fees are upto ₤3200 depending on parents income. Under the new system fees can be as high as ₤9000 but will only be paid once the student is earning a minimum salary of ₤21 000. Fees will be equal for all.

On one hand you have the government making cuts across the board due to the financial crisis. They say they simply can't afford the current system any longer. You have taxpayers that don't see why they should subsidise the alcohol fuelled lifestyles of students (many city centres become no go zones at night). On the other hand, the worry is that the new law will put off a lot of students and make university education elitist.

As a Sikh and as someone who has used the higher education system, education is something that is very important to me. However, I understand the economic burden of education too so I am interested in others views of this topic, particularly from people in countries where higher education is already privately funded. Here is a short newspaper article from earlier this month about the issue

In a move that drew new rounds of violent protests by students, British lawmakers on Thursday approved a contentious bill to allow universities in England to increase undergraduate tuition to as much as £9,000 a year—or more than $14,000— from the current rate of £3,290.

With the bill's passage in the House of Commons, by a vote of 323 to 302, the coalition government survived the first significant test of its durability.
The increase, which will take effect for the academic year beginning in the fall of 2012, will transform many English universities into the most expensive public institutions in the world. The average tuition and fees at public four-year institutions in the United States for the last academic year, by contrast, was $7,020. For England, the move marks a radical transformation for a system that did not even charge tuition until 1998.

The £9,000 rate is a cap that the government described as an "absolute limit," intended only to be charged by a handful of universities, with most institutions expected to set their tuition closer to a "basic threshold" of £6,000, or $9,450. But according to a report released by the University and College Union on Wednesday, most universities will have to charge an average tuition of close to £7,000 to maintain current revenue levels in the face of sweeping government cuts.

Students from across the country, many of whom spent the last several weeks protesting the plans with occupations of university buildings and city marches, had descended on London in anticipation of the vote. Authorities had intensified the police presence in and around the Palace of Westminster, where Parliament sits, in hopes of avoiding a repetition of the violence that erupted in the wake of a mass demonstration last month against the proposed fee increase and planned cuts in higher-education financing.

Despite the precautions, clashes between protesters and the police erupted after the vote and continued into the evening. At least 12 officers were injured, six seriously, according to Scotland Yard.


What do people think about funding for higher education? Should it be the responsibility of the individual or government?
Thank you for your thoughts :rolleyes:


  • education.jpg
    16.1 KB · Reads: 196


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Re: Higher Education; Is it a Birthright?

findingmyway ji

In the UK there is the marvelous document, the Magna Carta, on which democratic institutions have based their foundations. The story there is that in 1215 the barons of the land confronted the king. The document, which is actually quite boring and reads like a laundry list of taxes and duties, is significant because it istates the idea of government as a contract between those who govern and those who are governed. It makes sense to recall the Magna Carta in this thread because the barons stated what they were will to pay out in return for fair dealing by the king. In free societies, everyone has to consider giving up some of their freedoms and entitlements in order to gain a greater good.

Now in the US we also see street riots as a result of tuition hikes at state run universities. Why? Is some sort of psychological disease running rampant like an epidemic on both sides of the Atlantic? Or is there a sense that a "fair" deal has not been reached.

At the time of the Magna Carta, when there were few groups or political constituencies with any political clout (only the landholding barons, the king and the Church), it may have been easier to see what the "other side" was willing to give up. Making it easier to strike a deal. Today things are very different. Think of all the many and various groups, divided by income, race, culture, religion, language and social class that have a sense of entitlement that is quite legitimate in a way. How can a deal be struck that satisfies all, and finds that greater good that will quiet things down? Whenever I read of these riots it is humbling to think how difficult it is to make representative government work in this day and age.


Aug 13, 2008
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
This is an issue that strikes two chords with me, as it proves that we have two problems that we are just beginning to confront, that few have have ever even acknowledged - let alone accepted as fact enough to plan to do something about it.

The First Problem is that Technology is driving a Revolution that is leading to massive reductions in sheer scale of the Labor Force; though nobody is putting any real thought, let alone making any real plans, to deal with the conflicting facts that the world contains fewer and fewer and ever poorer paying jobs (like those of the parents whose children might have to do without a University Education) by the hour, while the need of Corporation that are reducing their Labor Forces - and, thus, the Spending Power of the Consumer Base (assuming a world comprised of something other than a bunch of Trust Fund Hippies) - to still have a Market for their Goods is going unaddressed.
This affects the Universtity Payment Issues because fewer and fewer Jobs also means less and less Revenue - as this reduces both the scale and net availability of Taxpayer Revenues, and the Revenues that are no longer coming in from the middle class students whose parents are already so destitute that they've gievn up completely on the idea of EVER sending their Kids to School (more a problem in the US, I suspect).
This is, of course, a Vicious Economic Cycle that will be hard to break - but may be relegated by 'Problem 2'.

Problem 2 is the fact that getting a Primary - and even some parts of a Higher Education - should be being done via sophisticated Computer Programs, by this time in our Civilizations Developement (Psst! Teachers Unions! There'll always be 'on-line helpers' - i.e: Your Lodge Members); though no one has really acknowledged that, either - except for those who are actively seeking to prevent it from happening (Psst! That's also You, Teachers Union!).

When they figure out that both Economic Woes - and our Need for more, more Highly Educated Human Beings - can both be eliminated by the Adaptation of (and, just as importantly, Educational Instructional Certification) of "Robbie The Robot-type" Personal Instructors (Read: Issac Asimovs "I Robot" - if you'd like to see his very 0well thought out portryal of this concept in action. Note: I'm not sure if the Movie {in which Will Smith was Great!}, I Robot, did as good of a job of portraying the benefits of such things - I think it was meant more to frighten movie-goers), then the World will Begin to Change for everyone, everywhere, who wants a Higher Education.

It maybe should not be a "Birthright"; as it makes no sense to give a Higher Education to an Idiot who'd never be able to exploit it for anyones good, after all (You Brits learned that - about idiots educated by birthright, that is - at Gallipoli!); but, when a sub-Saharan super-genius never gets a chance to write Her/His General & Special Relativity, because they simply hadn't the access to the Knowledge of the World - then every man, woman, and child on this Planet loses.

We'll never achieve our Dream of Universal Peace, Love, and Harmony is we don't do something!

The World wouldn't be run by anybody but Brutes with Guns, if we didn't have Educated People!


Mar 24, 2005
Education is not a birth right. In UK they have almost everything birth right. They have a huge national debit increasing every day. They waste a lot of money and a lot of money is given out as AID to other countries while cutting back on expenses they should not.

I think some of the higher education to deserving students should be subsidized by the society. Birth right NO


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
JimRinX ji

cbut, when a sub-Saharan super-genius never gets a chance to write Her/His General & Special Relativity, because they simply hadn't the access to the Knowledge of the World - then every man, woman, and child on this Planet loses.
Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=33658

Not only that! He stands in line to be the next great demagogue to set fire to the Planet. Why should he care how many suffer for his cause? If no one ever made an investment in him, so why should he care? The world has been spinning on its axis this way for centuries.


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
In the SRM its stated..a Parent SHOULD EDUCATE his offspring.
Vidya Vicharee taan PARUPKAREE.....being or remaining UNEDUCATED is a CURSE.

Education can also take many forms! Many people do better at vocational training than book style university learning. This can also be counted as education?

Not only that! He stands in line to be the next great demagogue to set fire to the Planet. Why should he care how many suffer for his cause? If no one ever made an investment in him, so why should he care? The world has been spinning on its axis this way for centuries.

And yet the 7/7 London suicide bombers and others have been university educated for free. It was through university networks they were converted. Life is a tightrope :omgg:


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
spnadmin ji great reference to the magna carta and the description in the post regarding role of government in support of taxes and services..

For me Education (higher or lower) is a facilitated gift from your family and the society you are in.

Your parents may have some expectations from the taxes and their contribution to society or regardless of it may have special circumstances requiring special consideration in getting assistance so a child could get education.

I know my father used to waive fees for the needy in Guru Ramdas School, Amritsar as well as Khalsa College Higher Secondary School, Amritsar. I do believe such facilities and options do exist in most caring societies.

Beyond that it is a balancing act between,

  • Taxes and Revenue
  • Priorities of the Government that the people elected (Education, Healthcare, Social Services, Infra-structure, Defense, etc.)
  • Value on specific education that the society places
    • Easier loans are available if you are studying in professional programs considered valuable in society (doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, etc.)
  • Balancing the books of costs versus fees and other revenue sources
So I would not say Higher education is a birth right rather in balanced societies education will be encouraged and supported to the level available from appropriate resources.

There have been societies and systems of Government in the past (Soviet Union before separation or dis-integration) and at present Cuba where the governments would have possibly called it a right. However the sacrifices you will make in killing of your spiritual needs, your desire to do better, etc., at least for me wouldn't make it worthwhile.

The sayings comes to mind,

  • I rather go hungry than sell my soul to the devil
  • Nothing comes for free
Hope it adds to the dialog.

Sat Sri Akal.


Nov 22, 2010
I love this blog (is that the correct term?) Very insightful people. I live in the U.S., and love hearing what people in U.K. and otherwsie have to say. Sombody had said something about technology and robots driving a revolution towards less jobs...and I could not agree more. I see this happening here in the U.S. as well. Higher Ed as a birthright? I feel it should be.....like those countries with closer to free college education for their kids (Scandivnavian countries mostly). Finland ranks #1 in education.....I lost count where the U.S. ranks but know my country is slipping fast where we once held the edge. Ok, don't want to get to political but...heck its all politics anyway. corrupt politics I might add. Despite Fed vs State funding, I look at big picture. The US. is robbing its people of basic human rights....like affordable higher ed for one, while it overspends on "defense". Since the financial crisis is Global....I can't help think how it all effects each other. The cutbacks really need to be more in the bloated military and uncessary weapons.....and put back into our schools and otherwise.


Aug 21, 2010
This is the current state of many of the education systems around the world. In the US for the last couple of years tuition fees have been going up slowly and financial aid has been going down slowly(at least in california and other major states). The excuse has been the "global financial crisis". In spain, south america and i guess now the UK similar things have happend MANY times with protest and unrest involved.

But what do inteligent people expect from STATE and GOVERNMENT funded "educational" institutions?

The ruling class(elite) do NOT benefit and do NOT want a well informed and knowledgeble society. It should not surprise anyone that they HAVE and will CONTINUE to dilude the educational systems of developed nations.

My sociology professor makes it VERY clear to us that education here in california in the 70's was MUCH more sophisticated then it is now. America has been left with almost no scientific community and has to rely on foreign experts to fill in certain jobs because of the dumbing down of our educational system. He says the same about the standard of living and warns our generations about how MOST of us WILL live in poverty.

Another thing, educational system are set up by the STATE and the GOVERNMENT not to distribute knowledge to the masses but to controll knowledge amongs the masses. It is a system of control, and anybody that thinks it is the duty of some 3rd party to give you knowledge is foolish. It should be the job of the parents to educate the children then it becomes the job of the indivual . It is not the job of youre local government.

Modern western teachings methods are HARMFULL to the human consciousness. They are based on skinnerian(famous psychologist) principles of conditioning and what you end up with this whole memorize/exam system is LEFT-BRAIN prisoners

This "educational system" starts training youre LEFT hemisphere of the brain which has to do with; physical reality, 5 senses, logic and intellect. The RIGHT side of the brain has to do with ; art, spirituality, music, numbers etc. The modern educational system DESTROYS a childs creativity and spirituality by overdeloping there left brain and cripliling the right brain. Intelect is one of the lowest expressions of human consciousness.
Aug 28, 2010
Is Higher education aBirth Right.

Science and technological developments require people with higher education at all levels.Be Govenment.Industries or Educational institutions.
Since higher education has its commercial angle more prounced than the Basic Education.Higher education can not be straightway given the status as Birth Right.
However considering its significance in near future it can not be avoided .For this there should be participation from all who are directly concerned with higher education.So Govenments,Industries and concerned institution must work a strategy together to achieve the objective of providing higher educatio for its people.It should not and can not be left alone for the Government to take thefull responsibilty for this cause as Governments are required to take other resposibilities of the whole of society which other institutions are not required
After all Government is of the people,for the people and by the people in any Democratic set up.Thus Governmetnts have other social obligations of the society.
Governments should play a role to create and maintain conditions conducive to the establishment and running thereof with justice at whateverlevel required.
Probably it is the costof higher education which seems to be a matter of great concern.It should be but at same time therecan be schemes promoted by Governmets which may provide finacial assistance for higher education that can be gradually recovered once the person is engaged in the job.

These are my views only according to my personal experience.I am aware there are many others with great idias.Always nessicity is the Mother of INVENTIONS the same should be applicable to this state of problem.

Sep 21, 2010
I studied upto masters level in India where tution fees were minimal. I did my PhD in UK in late sixties. Every PhD student whether British or foreign were provided not only free higher education but students were also paid bursary that was almost equal to an average worker's salary. There was no cost for health care thanks to the NHS (National Health Service). The current problems impinging on all such things originated from the greed of the wall street devils and bankers in the US.

I consider subsidised education both Further and Higher as an important sign of a civilised and caring society and civilisation. US may have been rich, prosperous, and mighty. However in my humble opinion it is still a society that hasn't been able to rid itself of the wild west syndrome. The political lobbyists lobby for uncontrolled guns in the society. The industrial-Military Complex determines the foreign policy thereby craving for wars in distant parts of the word. Wars are fought for resources such as oil and gas under the guise of human rights protection while at the same time autocratic dictators have all the time been propped up or supported in different parts of the world. Provision of subsidised education, health and social care is possible only if the rulers have an element of spiritual and moral considerations in their ethos. The American population begins to think the way the only media driven by profit and ratings wants them. Thank God Britain has not only NHS, subsidised education, social services but above all BBC that does not depend on ads or commercial interests. The one thing I miss when in North America is the ad free BBC. I strongly support the idea of subsidised education of all kinds.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Point of information It is true that higher education is not considered a "birthright" in the United States. The core political/economic value "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" has never caught on here. This extends as well to policies related to national health.

Basic education is considered a responsibility of state governments according to the US Constitution. In fact federal meddling in education is a constant source of political controversy, as it can be unconstitutional. The 10th Amendment pertains to state control of education. According to the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Federal mandates for funding education are essentially limited to equal access and opportunity. Thus, any federal dollars allocated for higher education are allocated at the state level according to state-level policies and procedures. The federal government's role is to ensure that there are no barriers to admission to a college or university, or the funding necessary to attend, based on race, religion, national origin, gender, physical disability, etc.

The federal government thus operates to level the playing field by funding and civil rights mandates (e.g., No Child Left Behind). It can happen, and has happened, that federal mandates are not funded by Congress, and it is left to the states to find the funding to enforce the federal mandate.


Cleverness is not wisdom
May 2, 2010
Well there's a number of issues here which I will attempt to summarise in no particular order:

1) It was an aspiration of the last Labour administration to increase the numbers of students going through Higher Education to 50% or above. Whilst I think it's great to offer such opportunities, the reality is the jobs market has become saturated with graduates...some with questionable degrees and it has resulted in Macdonalds getting a higher calibre of staff to flip their burgers!

2) Against that background, the books were always going to be very hard to balance, but the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition administration made it worse by introducing an 80% (yes that's right...80%) funding cut in certain areas and that left an even bigger hole in the books, which they then decided should be funded by the main beneficiaries of the higher education, i.e the students themselves

3) They tried to counter-balance this with another development whereby the debt does not have to be repaid until the individual concerned earns a salary in excess of £25k. But their maths don't add up as the examples they have provided would mean a person could take decades to pay back their loan which doesn't sound right to me

4) Students would argue that the taxpayer benefits from the services of qualified professionals like Doctor's etc which is a valid point but the UK taxpayer's alliance would counter-argue why should they pay for a person to get educated and then earn a very high salary, possibly multiple times higher than the UK average and multiple times higher than that of the average UK taxpayer

5) Whilst there is no doubt that society benefits and the economy benefits, there is also little doubt that the primary beneficiary is the student so personally, I think it is right that person should make a contribution to their education. What I fundamentally disagree with is the way the Conservative led coalition have handled this...was it really necessary to make an 80% cut in one go and raise fees as high as 9k a year? Why couldn't they have cut 40% which is still extraordinarily high?

6) Labour would also have had to make cuts but Labour was working to a 10 year plan whereas the coalition are aiming to get the UK deficit cleared within 5 years....which a lot of people, myself included, think is far too much far too quick

7) Finally, I would finish by saying I was totally appalled by the actions of some student protesters and they really did their cause no benefit at all.

❤️ Tap / Click or Scan