Student Fees Demonstrations: A View and a Plug

There seems to be quite a to-do down in London with unrest at the student fee protests. Clearly this is an issue people care quite strongly about: with a tuition fee increase due at three times their current levels people are worried about the value of a degree that will place them in substantial debt.

This is something I have direct experience of: the most recent rise in fees to around the £3000 level were put in place before I started my university studies, but after my elder brother had started his. So, while I did a two year HND course I was saddled with greater debts than he incurred in his three year BA studies. For me, despite one of my student shorts winning a BBC competition, it hardly felt worth the money I borrowed to study it, or, in the parlence of our times, fair.

Frankly, it left me with a great deal of dissatisfaction with the higher education system in this country, and one I am not alone in sharing. With the high fees, often low quality teaching and no jobs when it’s over, it seems there is something desperately wrong with the way universities operate. It is with these thoughts in mind, I came up with Graduate Decline.

We have spoken a few times about the film on the Studio 279 News blog, as due to technical and scheduling problems it is yet to be completed. However, we think it is very timely and with the level of anger about many of these issues, we feel it’s something as wide an audience as possible should get to see when it is finished. Set in a world where education has been devalued, graduated students with no hope of work are forced to beg for money, food and jobs on the streets, all the while still wearing their tattered graduation robes. Sound familiar?

We’re looking to get it finished as soon as humanly possible, but for the time being you can peruse these pre-production sketches on our Facebook page (if you haven’t joined yet, what are you waiting for?) and these lovely photos on our flickr account taken by the venerable Dale O’Keeffe at Living Proof Films and the peerless Neil Iwanicki A.K.A Grandpa Neil.

We’d also like to hear from you. Do these things chime in with your experiences? Are you angry, upset or indifferent to the levels of debt you incurred on your course, or the prospects you had afterwards? Or do you think we here at Studio 279 are chatting out of our hat, haven’t got a Scooby-Doo what we’re on about and should stick to the bloody films, thank you very much? Either way, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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