As many in the UK will know the Government has decided to stop funding ELQ students (Equal or lower qualification), so if you are a student who is studying for a qualification equal or lower to one you already possess you have to pay the full fee. This is obviously vexing for a university such as the OU, which specialises in such qualifications.
It’s also completely at odds with any agenda on lifelong learning, which the Government, and Gordon Brown in particular, claims to support. There has been some suggestion that lifelong learning will be funded in other ways, but just in case any Labour MPs are in any doubt, let’s be clear – it is impossible to hold both concepts in your head simultaneously without conflict. It would be like a minister declaring they wished to increase atheistic thought in society by opening up a set of faith schools (or vice versa). The two actions are mutually exclusive.
And this is where we see the strangeness of Gordon Brown’s personality come to the fore again. I accept that all politicians want to have their cake and eat it, but Brown seems peculiarly afflicted on this front, wanting to have his cake and eat it and then be admired by cake-eaters and cake-keepers alike (cf. being present or not to sign the European treaty). I ought to say that in case anyone interprets this as a Tory political broadcast, it isn’t – I remember how education fared under them last time round.
This is what psychologists call a double-bind and used to think was a cause of schizophrenia (before they admitted that genetics might have a role to play, and double-bind seemed to be a load of old tosh in the causation stakes).
Anyway, the e-petition against the ELQ cuts is here if you feel like tightening the bind.