Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ema is flawed. If you want to help kids AND ensure the money is actually spent on educational maintenance, ie travel to college, textbooks, food etc, then scrap the system and implement my much clever system; use the money you'd normally give straight to student who then fritter it away on whatever, to subsidise bus fare even more to give kids free transport to college - if some of the £30 per week was to be spent on that anyway, it goes to the same place. Set up a college account at Waterstones or with Amazon, and the kids show proof of being at that college and a book list and they get their textbooks paid for that way. Work together with local businesses to provide HEALTHY meals for students - give them vouchers for meals in shops, the cost of which you subsidise.
It's pretty obvious that ema is hugely flawed.
Judging how much a kid gets based on their parents earning is ridiculous; for someone who's parents earn say £1000 over the means testing threshold, the system effectively assumes that all of that £1000 will be spent on that child's two years at college, regardless of other familial overheads and bills etc that the parents (whose income you test after all) have to pay for. Even though whose parents are further over the threshold have those things to think about! Having parents who earn above the means testing threshold does NOT assure that money goes to the child's education.
And extolling ema as an incentive to get kids to go to college? Rubbish. Give a kid £30 a week and tell him "you must spend this on books and paper etc, but we've got no way of checking whether that's what you're actually using it for, or if the tax payer's are giving you a night out, so have fun" and what do you expect to happen? There are plenty of people out there who see high school as a chore, and as soon as they hit 16 want to get out of the system, so why drag them back in with a hand out? So they can sit on classrooms, if they ever turn up, an distract those of us who want to work hard, who want that education? So they can be the 'problem' kids? Give them something more worthwhile to do! Don't give them 'something for nothing' to the detriment of others who actually want to remain in the education system.
I truly believe there is merit in a meritocratic system, and to be honest, the abolition of ema is a first step to that - it's harsh but it's true. Some people aren't built for college, and academia. But that's not to say they aren't 'worth as much' or 'less human' or any of this other foundational equality mirth - those not cut out for academia have other skills that society should by now have learnt how to utilise, for our sake and theirs.
I'm all for equality of opportunity, which is why I believe any ema-like system should not judge just on monetary grounds but on some degree of academic ability: every one has had the same opportunity at high school, so those that can show they actually want to continue with education should obviously have that chance.
So in essence, I agree with the scrappage of ema. It was an unfair system anyway, implemented poorly.
How did people manage to get through college before ema? Ask my brother and sister. Ask me. Or get a job. Thrift. Save and don't spend. Don't assume you 'deserve' a handout - life is hard and everyone has to to work at what they want. But as I say, removing ema should theoretically mean that the money previously used for it should be used in some other educationally beneficial manner, most importantly, for those most willing to learn and apply themselves.

God I sound like a Tory :P

And another thing: the British public really piss me off.
You vote for someone that isn't Labour because you blame them for every problem under the sun, voting for 'change', then you moan like a banshee when anything actually is changed!
Most of the people up in arms about all the reforms being made are those that don't understand them.
I do not for one moment proclaim to be an expert on any such reforms, which is why I'm keeping my mouth shut. I have initial opinions based on the little knowledge I do have, but I'm not going to push that down anyone's throat til I actually have all the facts and know more what I'm talking about.
Sure, if after consideration and possession of the facts I don't like it, then I'll say so, as everyone is so very entitled to do. But what bothers me most about a lot of the British public (vast generalisation I know) is how fickle and ignorant they are.
"We don't understand this, so we'll disagree and shout about it."
You wanted change? You got it. At least find out what that change is before you go running around with your juvenile name calling and partisan bullshit.
One thing the British do well is turn on what we have created.

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