The Closed University
After years of listening to the voices inside my head arguing about what I should do with my life, I recently came to a realisation. I’ve become lost. You see, four years ago, I’d decided that whatever I did with my life, it needed to be complicated enough to give me a buzz and meaningful enough to contribute to society in some way. It took NASA landing a MAHOOSIVE rover on Mars to make me remember what I’d promised myself when I graduated. I told myself I’d earn enough cash to fund my education. I didn’t know whether I wanted to go into computational neuroscience or space engineering but I knew one thing. Whatever I go on to do with my life, I need an understanding of advanced mathematics to make it possible.
Back in 2008, I got my first job writing software at a fairly boring company. A year later, I decided I needed a new challenge and having saved up a decent amount of cash, I decided it was time to take my education to the next step. I enrolled in a Mathematics degree at the Open University. The price of studying a 30 credit module at the time was something along the lines of £360. So with a full degree consisting of 360 credits, let’s say an OU Maths degree would have cost £4320 in total. Bargain! And this, of course, was the point in the Open University. Cheap, high quality education with low entry requirements. Truly open education. An element of our culture that should make us proud. I enjoyed my studies so much that I ended up taking on too many modules at the same time and pushed myself way too hard while I had other things going on in my life. I decided that it was best for my psychological well-being to take a break and resume my studies when it made sense to do so.
We do not have lift off
As I said earlier, the Mars landing inspired me to get back on it. I’d made a plan. I would resume my studies in Mathematics in order to prove myself for further study and then hopefully establish a career in something epic. Today, I went to the Open University website to enrol on a module and found that the cost had shot up from £360 to £1250. Yes, now the entire cost of an Open University degree is £15,000. This makes it only marginally cheaper than studying at a traditional brick university and therefore entirely undermines the purpose of the institution. This government has quite literally killed the Open University.
Meanwhile in the United States of America, MIT, Berkeley and Harvard are busy building edX, which looks like it’s set to become the international distance learning platform of the future. Once again, the UK develops a kickass concept and lets someone else run with it. Congratulations America. You’re taking a step forward while we continue to remind the world why Britain is no longer great. Honestly, it’s fucking insane. You’ve got David Cameron twatting around telling everyone we’re going to lose out to China and India if we don’t get our education in check and at the same time he’s cutting university funding. He’s a giant douchebag and this country is very rapidly becoming a massive joke. (Right now, I’d say it’s just an average sized joke)
Ugh. I’m done.
Let me tell it how it is. People like talking about the 99% and the 1%. Well you know what? Let’s forget about wealth distribution for a second. Civilization was created and is developed by the 1% of people with the ambition, passion, intelligence, creativity and determination to get the job done. The other 99% merely consume the fruit of the nerds, the outcasts, the eccentrics and they don’t care where it comes from. They just trust that it will be there and continue to improve indefinitely.
In general, I’m just pretty frustrated by the way we value skills in our retarded economy. Footballers earn zillions by kicking a ball around yet if you want to contribute to science, the average person needs to crank up debt for the privilege of being accepted onto a gruelling PhD program and receiving the amazing sum of £13,000 per year if they’re lucky. If they’re not lucky, they’ll have to pay for the privilege. So what now, for me? Fuck knows. Maybe I’ll just sell my soul to the finance sector. Why contribute to society when I can make money instead?