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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2010

Higher education students and staff: Get ready to fight after the election

In the so-called education debate during the election campaign the only thing that was clear is that none of the three main parties stands for university education as a right for all. No surprise there. The Lib Dems' latest formulation is that they would phase out university fees over six years, having backed down from their position of abolishing fees more quickly. At a time when thousands more people are trying to get onto courses to avoid the dole queue, they have argued that the abolition of fees is "unaffordable" straight away. The other parties insist that they can't possibly say at what level fees should be set until after the 'independent review'.

Leaks from that review, headed by former BP chief executive Lord Browne, suggest that fees could rise by up to 1,000 a year until 2013, with science courses charging up to 14,000 a year! But, as with other attacks on public services, the 'big three' are silent on their true intentions until after the election.

However, the cuts in higher education spending have not been delayed and we already know that funding could be cut by a third. In universities such as Sussex, Westminster and many others students and staff have already taken action to defend education and oppose cuts in jobs, courses and campus services.

There is a pressing need for a national campaign to link up the staff trade unions, fighting students unions and anti-cuts campaigns on a national basis to say no to cuts, no to closures, no to higher fees.

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