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Why researchers want to give a $14,000 grant to each school-leaver in the UK

The current system is broken. Source: Shutterstock

Researchers at University College London’s Institute of Education have a radical plan to solve UK’s current broken university funding system: Give GBP10,000 (US$13,889) to all UK school-leavers to spend on education or training.

Termed “National Learning Entitlement”, authors for the new proposal estimate it will cost Britain £8.5 billion per year and be a broader and more inclusive system for all school-leavers to access, TES reported.

The current system is unfair, inefficient, unaffordable and inflexible, according to the paper.

“Within any age cohort, university students get all the attention and the lion’s share of financial support.”

“Difficult though it is to get comparable figures, per student funding for university teaching is something like four times the amount given to students in other post-school institutions, mostly further education colleges.”

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Under this plan, the GBP10,000 would be spread over at least two years. It can be spent on any “publicly provided, or publicly recognised, education and training”, ie. courses at colleges, independent training providers and universities.

It’s meant to provide a “flexible system” where students can not only fund their courses over a period of years, but also allow them to stop school and re-enter again. This would allow learners to “weigh up their prospects and tailor their learning to their current circumstances”.

Adults who do not have a degree can also access this grant.

The report is authored by Tom Schuller, visiting professor at University College London’s Institute of Education; Sir Alan Tuckett, professor of education at the University of Wolverhampton; and Tom Wilson, visiting research fellow at UCL’s Institute of Education. It is published by the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies, UCL.

The paper adds: “Overall the funding for adult skills and education has been cut every year for 10 years, down to £1.5 billion. This leaves a tiny amount per capita for adult learning.”

The researchers also said that this system will be cheaper than the one proposed by the Labour Party during the 2017 General Election in the UK, where the party’s plan to axe the current GBP9,000 (US$11,630) university fees and bring back maintenance grants for university students was wildly popular among millennials.

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