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Let’s put business aside for a moment and focus on the topic of student loans – something that all UWA students can relate to. According to reports, the British Conservative Party announced in the second week of May that student loans for teachers would be waived off if the party continues to stay in power. This is essentially a “reward” that is being offered to the teachers to combat the shortfall in certain critical subjects.
As part of the “election manifesto”, the party declared that it will also help teachers to continue in their profession. Why was this announced in the first place? Basically, this proposal has been put forward so that the shortage of staff in the country as of late, can be dealt with more effectively. In other words, it is an incentive for the teachers to pursue their jobs seamlessly without the hassle and worry attached to repaying their student loans.
Why this urgency?
Reports suggest that without a solution, the problem would become more pronounced as the number of students is expected to reach around 3.3 million by the year 2020. Another reason that the incentive is being offered is due to the growing work pressure. According to the declaration, it was said that adequate human resource support will be also provided along waiving off student loans. This is because statistical data is indicating that many teachers are giving up the profession to explore newer and greener pastures, due to the strenuous workload commonly known to this profession. As such, the Conservative Party’s announcement was a welcome step that was applauded by many.
Waiver of student loans for teachers explained
As the Conservative Party is waiving off the student loans for teachers as an incentive, it is the responsibility of the government to make the repayment of tuition fees alongside the maintenance loans required to be paid by the teachers as long as a particular teacher continues to remain in the state school system. This was stated by Geoff Barton, the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.
A step towards teacher retention
He also went on to state that it is quite likely that the student loan might as well be waived off completely after a certain period of time, perhaps in ten years. According to him, the approach is a very positive one and one that will help in addressing the prevailing issue in the country, which is that of “recruitment and retention crisis”.
Aside from the Conservative Party, similar suggestions and recommendations were put forward by several charities and educational organizations over the years.
It may be mentioned here that over the years, several types of loans, regardless of whether it is the short term loans UK service-providers offer, or the education loans offered, these types of financial aid have helped people come out of financial crisis and attain financial stability.
Are more measures needed to meet the crisis?
Although this proposal has been welcomed by all, there are few that believe that only by waiving off student loans for teachers is not enough. This is because as per statements made by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, this very proposal will not be enough to retain teachers in the profession and meet the shortfall of teaching staff that is prevailing presently.
There are others that are of the opinion that, particularly for subjects like Science and Mathematics that have a huge shortfall of teachers, this step is not adequate. It was also felt that it is not needed just for teachers, but what matters is the need for good teachers that are ready to take on challenges and address challenging issues currently existing in the system.
Aside from waiving off student loans for teachers, the manifesto states that teachers will also receive support when it comes to preparing lessons and working with grades. The amount of paperwork will be reduced remarkably too.