More Postgraduate Opportunities for People from Less Advantaged Backgrounds

More Postgraduate Opportunities for People from Less Advantaged Backgrounds

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
Logan Tomlinson started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) and

I am a graduated UK Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Manchester. Through my academic achievement throughout my undergraduate degree, I have earned my place on my master’s degree in medical microbiology at this same University. Throughout my experience applying for this master’s, I have come to understand the injustice in the education system with regards to social class first-hand. This needs to change.
Throughout my third year at University, I have consistently achieved high first-class marks in my assignments regarding microbiology, including a grade of 84% in an essay researching the gut microbiome and a 70% mark in my Dissertation in the development of new antibiotics. In this Dissertation, I created a teaching resource that would educate both students and healthcare professionals about the risks of antibiotic resistance and the development of new antibiotics, in which the Director of Undergraduate Studies at Manchester commented that this resource may be used in the future as an educational resource. Within these 3 years of work, I have clearly demonstrated my academic capability and have earned the right to continue with further study. Even before University, I didn’t come from a very prestigious school where little students achieved grades of A or A* level, yet I left school with 8 A* grades and A levels due to my dedication and motivation to learn and do what I love.
Unfortunately, I do not come from a privileged or in any way wealthy background. Therefore, I was delighted to hear about the availability of the Manchester Master’s Bursary of £4,000. In the email I received from the University about this, I was told that this was put in place to enable postgraduate study to become more inclusive for people like me with a lower-class background. Even though I fit into the criteria of this bursary, having had the highest student loan given to me throughout my 3years of undergraduate and having a single parent, I was not awarded any bursary. Immediately I panicked about not being able to do my master’s degree and was disappointed that I will be at a significant disadvantage to others. Most people in my position would have given up at this point, but it is because of my strength of character that I will find a way to do my master’s degree, whether it means I do it from home or save up the money somehow, I will find a way. For others in my position, giving up would be the only option, and no matter how intelligent and driven they are, they cannot afford to continue with their education purely due to financial reasons. This needs to change. The whole Student Finance system relies on what parents earn, but I urge you to reconsider this. Why should a student’s income rely on what their parents earn, or whether their parents have gone to University? Shouldn’t there be a system change in which every student is given the same loan as to give students an equal advantage? I applied to University because I loved science and love to learn, I wasn’t aware that when I started my degree I would be in the minority of students with working class families, or that, truthfully I had no chance in progressing to PhD level because of my social class. It is no surprise that the University applications from people with less privileged backgrounds are very low, and it is no surprise that the top PhD/Professor roles go to those that have progressed through the academic system using the money they had behind them. What happens to those that are intelligent enough to progress to these roles, but are hindered by finance, by their parents not being able to support them? I fail to understand how Universities can talk about that they require more funding for research, more students to carry out this research, but do not allow students like me to progress to a level in which we could work for the University and give back. Investing in students, especially those studying infectious disease (like me) that will be studying and researching during the COVID-19 pandemic would surely benefit not only the University but the fight for a vaccine. It seems ridiculous to me that science and research are looking for answers that could be found in the mind of a person with no money. What I or my parents have in a bank account does not have any correlation with how intelligent, capable or motivated I am.
This is not a letter to beg or say I deserve more than others. I simply ask for change. Everyone deserves the right to an education, and everyone deserves the right to go into the field of research should they wish. Change the University funding system to be inclusive of everyone, so that everyone has an equal chance no matter their background. Our education, future and impact on the world does not depend on what our parents have done in their lives. I urge you to change the rules on postgraduate funding, and make master’s degrees, doctorates and placements available to all with
proper funding measures in place and scholarships for excellent academic achievement. We need to be recognised as a vital part in academic practise. Universities like to advertise that they are inclusive to all people from all backgrounds, but from my experience this is not the case. There is no equality in the University social class system, and no justice. I have worked harder than some others to get where I am today, and I will not be stopped due to my financial status. I ask for change. I ask for more senior lecturers and researchers to be hired from working class backgrounds, I ask for more students to be given a chance to succeed. I am writing this knowing that one day I will have completed my master’s and PhD, and aim to become a professor working at the University, and every day I will fight for change, ensuring my students that whatever background they come from, they are capable and worthy of succeeding in the academic industry.
I know a lot of people will agree with me on these issues of discrimination due to social class, and we will not be quiet. We deserve a chance and will fight until we get to where we deserve. We live in an age that social media runs the world and information is available everywhere, so we will always find a way to progress and learn. You can’t keep us hidden. Change the elitist education system, for good.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!