The European Democrat Students (EDS) yesterday launched their “Knowledge is Power Campaign”. This campaign encourages EU political leaders to prioritize efforts on higher education and research funding. EDS urges leaders to introduce stimulus packages for the higher education sector, which is an important factor to help boost economic recovery in Europe.
The EDS emphasizes the importance of having a good education system for our future generations, and wish to encourage politicians to invest more resources in higher education and research. The EDS strongly believes that Europe 2020 is the fundamental guideline for all 27 Member States and thus, endorse the principle of a knowledge-based economy where higher education is a central pillar for sustainable economic growth.
EPP President Wilfried Martens strongly supports the EDS initiative: “the EPP believes that know-how in societies is central to economic growth and job creation, so we must create the best conditions for transforming them into knowledge-based societies. To reach this fundamental objective of the EPP, we strongly support investments in research and innovation. Ultimately, the economic success of Europe will be determined by the extent of the financial commitments allocated to these pivotal sectors of the economy. Europe must become a knowledge economy.”
This campaign is EDS’ first Internet based campaign and consists of several online films and an online petition available at eds-knowledge.eu. With the petition, the EDS wants to reach out to young Europeans and thereby send a bold signal to Europe’s policy makers that young people in today’s Europe believe that we have to invest more in Europe’s future.
So I deliberately didn’t write about the budget yesterday. I was too annoyed and I would write the wrong thing. But today, I am a little calmer. This post is about how the budget affects me, expect broader posts as the week go on. Basically this is a rant!
Overall I am not happy with the budget. That is fairly obvious. While I myself am not massively hit straight away, my pay package from the 1st of January will be hit with the Universal Social Charge.
This budget also limits my choices in furthering my education. The €200 charge on Post Leaving Cert Courses means that it will cost in the region of €500 to do the course I was planning to do next year, which means I have to now reconsider my options. Is this what we want for our knowledge economy? One where people have to figure out whether they can attend college. The higher education student contribution of €2,000 rules out university for me.
Thankfully none of the other cuts will affect me in any major way. But I am annoyed with the cuts in pensions for those under 65, and the cuts in careers allowance and tax credits. How does that make it a progressive budget?
While watching the news tonight, my tune on the National March against the proposed increase in College fees changed. Some will call me, a mé féiner, but I think what the Government is proposing is idiotic.
Doubling the Registration Fee is stupid.
Cutting the Grant is stupid.
Placing a €500 fee on post leaving cert courses is stupid.
How are we supposed to afford an education in this county? Even a PLC?
We need to properly fund the education sector, but taxing students is not the way. Its time to look at other options. A graduate tax or other method that is fair and progressive needs to be be looked at. A student loan system would be as bad as this idea in my opinion.
If you take a walk outside the main hotel there is a big crowd outside enjoying the sunshine. There is a relaxed mood among delegates as the various sessions continue this evening.
I attended the YFG session for part of it, but had to leav early. I was there for contributions from Lucinda Creighton (Europe) and Brian Hayes (Education). They gave good speeches, with Lucinda focusing on the Lisbon Treaty and the Lisbon Strategy (not to be confused). Brian Hayes explained the background to his recent Green Paper on higher education. It made alot of sense especially when he said in his speech to the Education Session that if this comes in, the new entrants will not have to pay a registration fee.
Who knows what will come of these, will the youth manifesto be any different to senior manifesto? We will find out