Yesterday I had to deal with one of the rougher decisions I've had to make this year: just how much am I prepared to spend to ensure that my son stays in university with the best chance of getting a good grade? You might ask why that is a rough decision given that some of my colleagues went through their early days not knowing where their next meal was coming from? You know who you are. Here's why.
Up until the late summer, my son was holding down a reasonable job that went alongside his studies. He was far from rich but getting by. Just. In recent weeks that job has become much less secure as demand for the business he works for has collapsed. He is in his final year at university so making a good grade will be the difference between being seen as a worthwhile post grad person and a so-so ran. It is the way of the world. Yet the business outlook is far from certain.
As an arts student he needs the best kit he can get. I don't just mean a Mac Book (he has my last MacBook Pro cast off), we're talking inks, paints and paper. Those costs are not inconsequential. His tutors say his work is let down by the fact he is using medium grade 'stuff.' Yet in the UK there are no funds to help kids trying to get through their degree for this kind of material. I am sure there are many other 'trade' students in similar situations. Student loans are barely enough to keep body and soul together let alone buy materials needed to complete studies. It's a seriously messed up system that will see him in years of debt after he gets whatever degree he achieves.
I could easily say: 'Go get more work' except there isn't any. So as I sit back making out payments to try help him through I am really, really sad.
For all the great technology we supposedly have at our fingertips it seems that as a nation - in my case UK - we're incapable of providing the basics to encourage those who will come next. Regardless of trade or profession, that's a dangerous situation.
So I say to you Mr Banker, Mr Telco, Mr Food Retailer...Mr....shame on you for putting short term, quarterly proft in front of safeguarding the future of your long term business and the generations of those who have to follow.
Never have I seen such a poor outlook for those who will follow in my footsteps. It's heartbreaking.
If it wasn't for the fact ZDNet is a 'family friendly friendly' title I would be much, much harsher. Those who know me on Twitter and Facebook know what I mean.