Elizabeth Bray: Does university hold the same worth?

Shouldn’t an outbreak in halls have been predicted?

Shouldn’t an outbreak in halls have been predicted? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since students began to return to university in late September, there have been a consistent thread of headlines and articles commenting on the event with all but three words in common: booze, coronavirus and spike.

Next to the ‘increase of coronavirus cases’ is ‘Scottish university students told not to go to pubs’.

Albeit, hundreds of students are having to self-isolate due to outbreaks in the university accommodation but it is more notable to state, in the words of Mary Senior of the University and College Union: “Shouldn’t we question the motives of universities in bringing students back to campus?”

Student accommodation ‘provides important commercial income for universities’ and ‘cross subsidies teaching’.

Shouldn’t an outbreak in halls have been predicted? Young people are annually encouraged to seek out higher education, this year being no different, but now the students are becoming scapegoated.

In the media especially, the majority of students are illustrated as party-hungry hooligans who disregard the threat of Covid for the sake of socialising.

Education is business, and like everything, it is a revolving door of capitalism.

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In PMQs just last week, Boris Johnson failed to comment on this very issue and instead announced, a few days later, plans to introduce more people back into the already-fractured system of education.

No answers were given to relieve a very concerned and confused generation. Aspiring university students, like myself, are flummoxed on the university application alone, the possibility of planning for impossible situations unbeknown to us is alarming.

Young people are currently paying the full price of rent alongside the entirety of tuition fees in return for online seminars and lonely four walls - £9,250 is not the price of a pre-recorded lecture and we should not be coerced into student accommodation just to listen to them.

Supplementary to the degree, university is a social place for many young people: you are told ‘it is the best years of your life’, it is where you will meet ‘friends for life’, it is the ‘first steps of your adult life’.

Although, with this factor being unattainable for the foreseeable, does university hold the same worth? If this is to be the new norm, the price must match the product.