Socialist Worker

Attacks on education give students many reasons to march

Issue No. 2330

Students are angry at attacks on education, the crisis of youth unemployment and a recession that is hitting the poorest hardest.

These are just some of the reasons that thousands were set to march in London this Wednesday.

The vice-chancellor of one of Britain’s leading universities has admitted that the government’s higher education reforms have damaged universities.

Professor Sir Howard Newby, head of Liverpool University, said 11,500 places have gone unfilled at Britain’s top institutions due to the introduction of £9,000 fees and their knock on effect.

This flies in the face of claims that high fees wouldn’t affect the numbers going to university.

There are now 57,000 fewer undergraduates in September this year compared to last. Now government policies are so widely hated that student activists are finding many allies.

Academic Sir Keith Thomas, historian and fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, said last week, “The very purpose of the university is grossly distorted by the attempt to create a market in higher education.

“Students are regarded as ‘consumers’ and encouraged to invest in the degree course they think most likely to enhance their earning prospects.”

The Tories and their Lib Dem cronies are determined to create a higher education system that caters for the rich, leaving thousands of young people behind.

But there is a militant mood among students. Many students across the world, such as in Quebec, Canada, are fighting the rising costs of marketised education.

And this week university students in London’s School of Oriental and African Studies occupied against Israel’s assault on Gaza. Mass direct action can force governments to retreat.

The NUS Demo 2012 assembles in Temple Place at 11am on Wednesday 21 November

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Tue 20 Nov 2012, 17:39 GMT
Issue No. 2330
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