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EMA - it's a completely unfair system. For those who have never heard of it, this is a plan dreamt up by the government to encourage more youngsters to go into further education after they finish secondary school. It's called EMA and it stands for Education Maintenance Allowance. Basically, if you go and do A levels full-time, you'll get £30 a week for it. That sounds moderately fair right? I mean, you're not really able to earn much from a job if you're doing this full-time, so it will at least be able to support the costs of your learning (transport, food, books).
This all sounds wonderful doesn't it? But wait...
EMA can't be given to EVERYONE you see... In fact it's only available to those who come from a low-income household. If your parents earn under a certain amount, THEN you will be eligible for EMA. Well hang on a second, where is the incentive for anyone who comes from a decent earning household to even bother continuing education after secondary school?
Does the government expect that our parents are just going to pay for everything? I am one of those non-eligible for EMA, and I can assure you my parents do not give me £30 a week. Unlike many of the people at my college receiving an "educational maintenance allowance", I have to sacrifice a day of my week to earn the some money to support my learning.
Meanwhile, my best friend goes out and spends her EMA money week on sweets, clothes from Primark and a new piercing. She does not have to spend her money on lunches as they're provided free at college for those receiving EMA. Finally, when she's broke her Mother (unemployed) buys everything else that she needs with the money that she's 'earned' from multiple benefits from the government.
Like the vast MINORITY at my college, I'm there to get an education, while at the same time I'm learning how to spend money wisely. Remarks like "I'd skive today but I wouldn't get my EMA" are heard all the time. Why do these people, who are obviously not in the least bit interested in their education, get a place in colleges around the country? All they're doing is adding to the overcrowding problem (this is in fact another gripe).
Either scrap EMA, or make it more fair across the board. And in the meantime, look forward to a future rant about inequality in university bursaries...