Hello and goodbye to debt

11th March 2005 at 00:00
I am a PGDE secondary student at Strathclyde University studying computing and business education. I undertook a four-year undergraduate degree before I entered on this course and am surviving solely on student loans.

This leaves me with an enormous sum to repay when I begin my teaching career.

Why is it then that students in England and Wales not only receive Government help with repaying their student loans but also receive a "golden hello" payment when entering the profession? If there is going to be a looming shortage of teachers, as the Headteachers' Association of Scotland claims, why are Scottish PGDE students being made to suffer and not receive any financial help or incentive to become a teacher in Scotland?

I know fellow students are now thinking of going abroad or to England (possibly after their probation year) in order to get a better salary and pay off their student debts.

Surely if education is important, the Government should help Scottish student teachers financially as well as English teachers. Although the teachers' agreement has improved salaries, nowadays students and newly qualified teachers on student loans are left with tens of thousands of pounds worth of student debt to clear.

This is entirely not fair and, if something is not done about it soon, the Government might just see newly qualified teachers from Scotland relocating to England and countries abroad that hold better prospects.

Elaine McKillop

Strathclyde University

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