I’ve been wondering for the last day or so how to give mention to the industrial action that is taking place nationally, but without going into the politics or whys and wherefores of it all. This set me to thinking how I can relate to the current situation on a personal level, both from the viewpoint of an employee in my previous life and as a student in my current one.
Thinking back to when I was working full-time, and still now to be honest, I can completely understand the need for good pension provisions. In today’s world there is great uncertainty about the future and the economy, and nowadays that is why all larger businesses and organisations (and yes, it seems that education is now a business) have to provide a works pension for its permanent staff. I feel lucky to have 13 years worth of railway pension banked already but I know that when I return to full-time work, I will need to make up for the time spent in education. Who knows how things will be in twenty, thirty, or forty years time from now? A good pension is just as important for staff wellbeing as pay, holidays and job satisfaction.
Looking at this as a student and on a local level, I have to make a point of what amazing staff we have at Kent. And this is not just our lecturers and seminar leaders who bring our classes to life, but everyone who provides for the smooth running of the campus on a day-to-day basis. They are the frontline staff, and the face of our university. In all of my modules so far this year I have been hugely impressed by the passion, enthusiasm and commitment shown by my lecturers and seminar leaders. Some of my classes are still running as normal at the moment, but I’m really missing the ones which are not. They are very enjoyable subjects, but I fully understand and support the current situation.
In fact, it is so encouraging to see the support by students for the strikes, something which appears to have been completely unexpected by the powers that be. Whilst I appreciate it is frustrating to miss out on contact time, especially for those in their ultimate year or with exams approaching, let us continue to support our academic staff and hope that there is soon a positive outcome for all.