Scrapping EMA is a good thing!

January 27, 2011

Now there’s been a lot of chat about the Education Maintenance Allowance recently. It turns out that our Government are scrapping it. Pretty much all of the press about this subject has been negative, saying it’s a bad thing, saying 70% of students will drop out if it’s scrapped.

But that’s rubbish! I’ve been against EMA ever since I first head about it because it is a total waste of money.

Now, I should point out that I never received EMA during my sixth form studies, but I know people who did. And every single person I knew who got EMA did NOT need it to continue their studies. After all, why would a student (normally still living at home) attending college need £30 per week to continue their studies. The argument is that it funded books, equipment, meals and transport. But I needed to buy no more that 5 books in the two years I was at my Sixth Form. I hardly needed £30 per week for that.

So what do students spend their money on? Well some still brought things to read, but they were more likely ‘Nuts’ than Shakespeare. Some brought equipment, but it was normally to smoke. Some brought transport, but not to and from education, it was more likely put towards petrol to drag their car wherever they wanted.

I was left to watch all this with little money to my name (as I wasn’t able to get a job until my second year of Sixth Form), wondering why the world had turned so unfair. Why were people the same age as me being funded to have fun? It made no sense.

I am a realist and I understand that some people from less well-off background do need a certain amount of funding during their sixth form/college courses. But it’s not like the government have left them with nothing. The Learners’ Support Fund is being increased to around £70m a year, aiming to help those who actually need it with their transport and studies. It may not be the £560m which was being wasted on EMA, but these are hard economic times and we need to be realistic.

As I have personally not seen a single penny of EMA spent for any educational good, I think this decision is correct. I may not agree with most things our Coalition Government have suggested, but this is the right one. The replacement may not be the complete answer, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the massive waste that was being made.

A quick note on the National Television Awards

January 27, 2011

Oh dear! For those of you who saw my preview for the NTA’s, you were no doubt aware that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. But my goodness, wasn’t it dreadful!

The ceremony itself was perhaps slightly better than last years disaster, it did after all feel a little bit like an awards ceremony. The set was also annoyingly quite impressive, if a bit OTT.

However, I don’t agree with Stacey Soloman, Matt Cradle and Louis Spence parading all over the place doing some kind of song or dance routine. Can’t we skip that out and keep with the awards? The people on to present awards was also a little questionable. The Chilean Miners rescue was without doubt a great good news story of 2010, but why on earth would you choose one of them to present the Best Drama award? Is there no strange level ITV won’t stoop to?

I also HATE the fact that this award ceremony seems not to credit anyone behind the scenes. As anyone who works in TV (and most people who don’t) know, producers and directors have just as much if not more to do with the creation of a show as the main cast. Yet ITV did not allow these people to even be shown when they came up for awards. In the case of ‘I’m A Celeb’s’ victory, two nobody’s called Stacey Soloman and Sean Ryder accepted the award. Where were the people who actually made the programme. I thought this was a celebration of all things TV.

Now, going back to my article yesterday, you’ve probably realised that I was also very unhappy with the winners. I cannot fathom how Benidorm won the best comedy show (even if it was a poor bunch), I have no idea why ‘Ant and Dec’ are still the nations favourite presenters and ‘Waterloo Road’ – best drama…. what?!

It seems (I suppose unsurprisingly) that the awards were voted for by a load of ITV indoctrinated fools. The whole show seemed very bias towards their shows and although not all awards were won by ITV, the kind of shows which did were well within their demographic (excepting the marvellous Inbetweeners)

Some people online have been saying that people like me should keep quiet about this sort of thing. The awards were voted for by the public and I should respect their opinion instead of thinking mine is best. But I just simply wont. Opinions are what make the world work and in my opinion last nights show was a disgrace.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain so much about this sort of thing, but I worry that if people like this rubbish, that’s how all TV will eventually go. God help us!