Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/514/3572
The Socialist 13 December 2007 |
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Leicester: debate on tuition fees
LEICESTER UNIVERSITY students union held a panel debate on the subject of tuition fees, instigated by campaigns and involvement officer Alex Smith, who also runs the union's campaign to keep the top-up fees capped at £3,000 a year.
Vicky Cowell, Leicester University Socialist Students
Socialist Students national organiser Matt Dobson was invited to speak at the debate, alongside a professor of free-market economics, Gianni De Fraja, the NUS national secretary, Stephen Brown, and Leicester's vice-chancellor, Bob Burgess.
Stephen Brown said he believed in free education but we must be "realistic" and concentrate on keeping the cap. Far from voicing the concerns of students, who are increasingly forced into poverty, debt, high rents and insecure, low-paid jobs, he seemed more interested in not getting laughed at by politicians should he choose to lobby them.
The Socialist Students speaker was prominently publicised. This is because we are recognised as the most consistent fighters against fees both nationally and at Leicester University as, in contrast to the NUS leadership, we put forward a fighting position.
In front of 40 students Matt argued that education should and could be free, that grants should be provided for all students and that the NUS should actively campaign for the scrapping of all tuition fees.
If the government can bail out Northern Rock and can afford wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, why can it not afford free education? The crux of the matter is not what the government can afford, but whose interests it represents.