Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17. Day 137. The students are revolting

 While estimating crowd numbers is notoriously difficult I think the ABC radio report of 150 students protesting about cuts to higher education was light on. And if were were to assume for a moment that it was right the Thin Blue Line of police was rather heavy. But the point remains that the kids today aren't what they used to be. They were vocal (I did rather like the chant "Turnbull is a Wanker" although it gets zero points for originality), they were passionate but for the most part they were absent. Where have all the student radicals gone? Of course I use the term "radical" very loosely because in fact taking to the streets to protest is a democratic right. It also used to be something students were extremely well versed at in the good old days. Actually I suspect that's where the root of the problem lies. The 80s when I was educated were good. I graduated without a student debt. That meant that there was a lot more hanging around campus philosophizing and a lot less working three jobs. We could plan a nice, big protest if we were so inclined and people could turn up. That's not the reality for many of the students I teach. It worries me as a university educator and the parent of a university student. Diversity is a huge problem in our student cohort and I can't see that improving if you make it harder to pay for the degree. And the pot of gold of international students is not the answer either because they take the skills with them when they return to their home countries. So all praise to those who joined the protest today. The students are revolting. Good for them I say.

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