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Posted on 2 March 2011 at 17:00 GMT

Dundee youth mobilise against the cuts

On Monday 28 February young people marched from local schools and colleges to Dundee City Chambers to protest against education cuts as the council's education committee met.

They joined trade unionists, parents opposing the closure of a local nursery and students from Dundee University in the city square. The protest, swelling to nearly 100, was so loud it nearly drowned out the councillors debating inside.

Matt Dobson and Alice Harrold

The SNP administration voted through 4.1 million cuts to schools and nurseries in the city. School students had been mobilised against plans for a "city campus" where classes for advanced higher courses will merge, with pupils having to travel across the city to attend.

Pupils at Morgan Academy, through a petition which has gained hundreds of signatures, have raised concerns about job losses and education being run on the cheap that have been arrogantly dismissed by SNP councillors.

Dundee College students also face cuts of 4 million with the college management planning to axe 21 'non-profitable' courses such as music and creative arts.

College student Kieran Orr explained: "Music students are not going to have a chance to continue their courses next year. For me, these cuts will mean I will not get a decent job in the future".

The protest was coordinated by Youth Fight for Jobs activists who assisted students from the schools and colleges in mobilising for the council meeting.

Harris Academy student and Dundee Youth Fight for Jobs organiser Wayne Scott was widely quoted in the local press calling for a city wide campaign to fight education cuts.

The SNP adminstration were clearly rattled by the protest, using the police to block the entrance to the meeting. After a struggle and a loud debate some protesters were allowed into the chambers' public viewing gallery but most were excluded.

An opposition councillor raised to loud applause that to exclude the public in this manner was unprecedented. This point was ignored by the SNP chair of the meeting.

Feeling under pressure from the protest the SNP withdrew a "cost saving" proposal to close the Law Nursery site and merge it with a local primary school.

Concerned parents had mobilised a deputation to speak to the council but the SNP education convenor Liz Fordyce arrogantly dismissed calls for a debate and refused to give reasons why the SNP had dropped the proposal.

This victory and the successful mobilisation of young people will further boost the anti-cuts movement in the city. Youth Fight For Jobs is calling for a city wide campaign linking up school, college and university students to fight education cuts.

A day of action has been called on 8 March to coincide with the one-day strike of lecturers at Dundee University against job losses.

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