Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/471/2006
SCRAP ALL FEES
Join the national day of protest on 22 February
University Vice-chancellors say they want to be able to charge £10,000 a year for university fees. Students paying £3,000 a year now are likely to graduate with £20,000 debt on average. If fees were raised to the new level the debt could easily double. That thought alone would mean millions of young people would not even consider university as an option.
Ben Robinson International Socialist Resistance national co-ordinator
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the university vice-chancellors don't care about education for the majority. They want to look after their own party interests and raise fat profits for big business.
They say that there isn't enough money for higher education and that fees are needed to provide the courses and equipment. But they said that when they originally introduced fees - and that they would not be raised beyond £3,000. Instead they are determined to create an elite education system and, in the case of the vice-chancellors, increase their already inflated pay packets - their average salary is £154,000!
The whole state education system does not receive enough funding to provide for the needs of the students, but to bring in fees and allow people to profit out of it is not the answer.
A first year student at Brighton University told us: "Top-up fees have meant that I am going to be in debt by £7,000 at the end of the first year. I definitely wouldn't go to university if fees were £10,000 a year. The fact that we get nothing for the £3,000 at the moment is disgusting as well.
"We have to spend around £30 a week on paper and all the different materials. At the start of the year we had to pay about £170 for equipment and we got a tiny little pile, including a couple of pens and a couple of rulers, and that was about it."
This situation is the same for millions of students across the country. And students are forced into debt because the government claims to see no alternative to making students pay the bill. Yet, they can find £76 billion for nuclear arms. They are willing to sacrifice thousands of lives and billions of pounds to try to secure the oil for big business in Iraq.
We need to build a movement that will put an end to fees. They are not acceptable to millions of people who see education as a right and not a privilege. Education should be free.
That is why the Campaign to Defeat Fees exists, to link up those who oppose fees and organise protests, occupations and demonstrations to make our anger heard.
If you want to get involved in the campaign, visit www.socialiststudents.org.uk/cdf or call 02085587947 for more info.
In The Socialist 25 January 2007:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis