Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/463/1731
Fight for free education!
NEW LABOUR ministers tell students that there's no other way to fund higher education than to make us pay fees. However, this quickly changes when big business demands that more funding is needed in Science, IT and maths subjects.
Matt Dobson Socialist Students National Co-ordinator
The fat cats are suddenly worried about the drop in graduates in these areas affecting the competitiveness of British business and the economy.
After the bosses' organisation, the CBI, called for the government to finance these subjects, the Higher Education Council found an extra £75 million to fund science and engineering departments.
This money will be too late for the 20 physics departments closed in the last decade.
Science departments in particular are suffering from low student numbers - this is unsurprising given the cost of study equipment added to the financial burden of being a student.
Financial services provider Liverpool Victoria says the "university years" are the most expensive in life, the cost of attending university now stands at £32,478.
New Labour has also been criticised by the Quality Assurance Agency for staffing cuts that affect teaching in universities like Bristol, where final-year history students receive only two hours tuition a week despite paying £1,200 a year in fees!
There are clearly enough resources in the world's fifth richest county to fund free, good-quality higher education. However, New Labour will bend over backwards for the whims of the bosses but ignore the thousands of students angry at struggling to pay fees.
We need to force the government to find other ways of funding higher education by building a mass movement across campuses, schools and colleges against fees, cuts, closures and privatisation and for free education for all.
That is why Socialist Students has launched Campaign to Defeat Fees to fight for free education and to stop fees, cuts and closures and privatisation.
We will fight for the NUS to take up this campaign, but also we want to organise immediate action through linking up with existing cuts and closures campaigns and the thousands of students who are angry at paying fees and are ready to fight for free education.
In The Socialist 16 November 2006:
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