Socialist Worker

Students protest over crisis in education

Issue No. 1788

Thousands of students showed their anger at the government this week. They are furious that promised reforms of the fees system have been blocked. The eventual outcome may be even worse than what went before. At present many students leave college with debts of over £15,000. Many working class school leavers are put off going to college.

Students continue to face expulsion from their courses because they are unable to pay their bills. New Labour shows no sign of doing what is needed-ending fees and restoring a living grant. The crisis has already led to reforms in Scotland. Last week the Welsh Assembly announced that small grants are to be reintroduced.

Wales's 250,000 students in higher and further education will be eligible for annual means tested grants of up to £1,500 from September. The chaos in education sparked the National Union of Students' call for a demonstration in London this week. There are other signs of student militancy.

Around 450 students occupied the main administration building at York University on Wednesday of last week. They were protesting over the safety implications after management announced the 24-hour porter service would be cut.

The first occupation of the building for 25 years led to concessions from the college. Even more could have been won had the occupation continued. In Leeds some 400 students came to a union meeting last week to discuss Mark Collett, a Leeds University student who is standing for the Nazi BNP in the May council elections.

The student union officials blocked any debate, declaring the meeting did not reach a certain number required to make the meeting official. Students were enraged, and another meeting was scheduled for this week.

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Sat 23 Feb 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1788
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