The State of Education
The state of education – across the board in the UK – is a disgrace. I have friends who are school teachers, who are buying school books (and – really? – toiletries!) for their school children. This stretches right up to universities.
I’ve just bought a sizeable roll of NFC tags, with my own money, so we can run an NFC workshop next year. In the past, there would have been a discretionary budget that I could use for out-of-pocket expenses.
No more, the cupboard is bare.
Of more concern, I had to buy a great deal of my own computer equipment (a tablet, a smartphone, a watch…), which is – disappointing… – given that I have to teach interaction design for these devices.
We used to get a discretionary budget throughout the year, but that was pre-austerity. Now, it’s as though we’re living from hand-to-mouth. As Channel 4’s Dispatches’ notes, however, there appears to be budget for other essentials:
University Vice-Chancellors and senior staff have claimed almost £8m in expenses in the last two years, according to data revealed by Channel 4’s Dispatches. 
When VCs get massive pay rises, huge pensions and drink porn star martinis you can imagine it’s frustrating. What’s disturbing is the distribution of equity. Again, based on Dispatches’ research:
More than 60 Vice-Chancellors are earning over £300,000 a year and the country’s universities rake in almost £17bn annually from their students.
Sadly, the fruits of educators’ labour is unevenly split:
Lecturers and their academic colleagues […] have seen annual wage rises of one per cent since 2012 – a fall when adjusted for inflation.
Why am I writing this?
I’m on a three year career break. I’m now half-time (and I will never go back to full-time) and this first year I’ve put a lot of thought into education. My daughter is currently racking up £60,000+ in eye-watering debt at Glasgow School of Art. It’s ridiculous. UK education is full-immersed in marketisation.
I am working on a web-based school to at least help address the design part of the equation (mostly focused around digital products). It is called designtrack.
My initial focus will be: UX, UI, Strategy, Business… Down the line, Front-End will be a part of it, plus wider aspects: Typography, Branding, etc.. (This will all be based on my UI book for Adobe and my UX book for Smashing.)
I wrote some further thoughts here.
Pickering’s post, ‘You Pay (Or Maybe You Don’t)’ at Every Layout, has come at a very good time for me. I need to think about how I make designtrack accessible and diverse… This is forefront in my mind as I start building.