I’m a student, and this is why I’m happy to give up my hours for the sake of my tutors’ pensions
Four weeks of disruption for us is worth it for saving our lecturers’ futures.
This week has seen coverage of the ongoing strikes and how they have impacted student life. Many students have protested their perspective as to why sacrificing valuable contact hours is unacceptable, with many demanding refunds or the lost education and fees to be made up for.
However, I am here to defend the sacrifice of my contact hours in order to emphasise the importance of the ongoing strikes.
The future of teaching at universities is looking dire.
Taking a look at the current standing of pursuing a career in university academia in the UK – it’s not great. The pension was one of the best parts of entering this field, and yet tutors who have dedicated years of service to teaching will see their future prospects of a secure pension completely diminished.
One picketer told the Tab Sussex, “taking away one of the only remaining attractive things about pursuing a career in academia, which will make more of our lecturers – especially those who have come here to teach – leave British academia, affecting the future standards of higher education here.”
He continued, “I have good relationships with many of my lecturers and I don't want them to get shafted by the UUK taking away roughly 10k a year from them.
"That's enough money to change whether or not you can afford to live in your current house when you retire, and I don't want the people I like and that support me to go through something like that without at least saying I tried my best to stop it.”
University is all about independent learning.
Realistically, how many of you can honest-to-God claim that you attend 100 per-cent of your contact hours on a weekly basis? I can imagine very few. Although it is a pain not having select content covered, I cannot begin to fathom the impact that the current circumstances for academic staff’s pensions will have on their future.
Part of the whole ethos of studying at a university level is being able to adapt to a more independent method of study. Unlike secondary school, we aren’t here to be spoon fed. If researching individually around my course for the next couple of weeks means that I can stand in solidarity with my tutors – so be it.
The strikes will stop when negotiations are successful.
If your lack of education during this period frustrates you – good. That is the whole purpose of the strikes, the disruption to the smooth sailing of the university is exemplifies the importance of the work that our lecturers do. If you feel annoyed, do not get angry at your lecturers who are doing all they can to save their futures – get angry at the current system that is taking away their pensions.
Get angry at inflated VC salaries and the excessive pay-offs they receive, yet they won’t even support the staff who provide the basis for higher education. Write letters, petition, lobby, picket – do what must be to help save their futures.
Your education, as important as it may be, can take a momentary break if it means that that the UUK is willing to negotiate with the UCU.