Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/475/2089
Students can defeat fees
THE LIES go on! Blair maintains that the introduction of top-up fees has been vindicated and that his critics have been proved wrong. As usual his claims are based on dodgy evidence. UCAS figures showed a 6.4% rise in applications for next year but numbers applying don't prove that students love fees - far from it!
Matt Dobson, Socialist Students national coordinator
Students still aspire to get a decent education even if it means facing debt and poverty. Unfortunately, reality can hit home hard once term begins - we have spoken to many students and heard about their conditions. We have seen the protests against rent rises, cuts in tutor hours and departmental closures.
Recently, the Department for Education was named as one of the worst government departments. It had failed to collect vital statistics. There is no record of the effect that fees have had on students from working-class backgrounds. So Blair has no evidence to back up his claim!
In fact, a recent Financial Services Authority report showed that one in five students dropped out of their course. Amongst undergraduates who considered dropping out, financial difficulty was a strong factor for 34.4%. Blair says top-up fees are the "saviour of education" but students clearly disagree. Support for the Campaign to Defeat Fees backs this up as students seize the chance to have their say.
On 22 February, students are protesting across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland against fees. This day of action proves that students are willing to take action. The NUS has publicly supported the Campaign to Defeat Fees but this is not enough! The NUS has to match words with action and fulfil the aims of this campaign.
That is why students from all over London will be taking the Campaign to Defeat Fees declaration to the NUS offices on 1 March and students will be doing the same to their local student unions all over the country.
Campaign to Defeat Fees declaration to NUS
We demand that NUS announces the dates for the following:
1. A national weekday demonstration in London called under the slogans "no to all fees, cuts, closures and privatisation" well in advance of the exam period this academic year.
2. A national demonstration called under the same slogans in the first term of next year in London that can be publicised during and after the freshers' fairs.
For both demonstrations we demand that NUS
1. Prints enough leaflets for every student in the country to have one and prints enough posters for every campus to be covered, for the use of student unions and Campaign to Defeat Fees activists to build support for the demonstrations.
2. Organises a speaking tour across universities, colleges and schools with representatives from the NUS and Campaign to Defeat Fees to speak to well publicised meetings to build support for the demo and the campaign.
3. Writes to all trade unions appealing for support and solidarity for the campaign and the demo.
We are campaigning against cuts and closures, privatisation and fees so there is a real opportunity for every person applying for university to actually get there and to get a high quality, publicly funded education.
In The Socialist 22 February 2007:
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