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The Socialist 16 February 2011 |
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Tuition fees increase spells misery for students: Build a united fightback!
Young people march for a future: Youth Fight for Jobs and Socialist Students on the 29 January London demonstration against education cuts, photo Senan (Click to enlarge)
Thousands of young people have had their hopes and aspirations dashed as more and more universities declare their intention to charge the full £9,000 a year tuition fees.
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Youth Fight for Education
The vice chancellor of Leeds, chair of the elite Russell Group, told students this week that they should expect maximum tuition fees to be charged by most of the groups' member universities with £9,000 a year likely to become the 'norm'.
In response to this the Lib Dems, already irreconcilably damaged by their betrayal on fees and the mass movement built against this attack, attempted 'damage control'.
They claim that they will be able to mitigate the effect of tripling the cap on fees by requiring universities to make agreements on so-called 'fair access'. In reality, this gesture is a smokescreen.
The idea that young people, other than those from extremely wealthy backgrounds, will not find the prospect of £50,000 worth of debt off-putting is ludicrous. Even more ridiculous is the fact that despite all this talk about more 'outreach', Aim Higher, a scheme specifically designed to help widen participation in higher education is another victim of the Con-Dem axe.
Young people will not be fooled by this kind of posturing from the Lib Dems. Nor will they find any sympathy for the vice chancellors who claim they have no choice but to hike up tuition fees and make brutal cuts. The student movement has already demonstrated the mass anger that young people feel towards these attacks and the willingness of ordinary people to fight.
When, on 24 February, vice chancellors and other senior university managers meet for the Universities UK conference, the demands of students protesting outside and around the country will be clear. It is not for the managements of universities to carry out the dirty work of the brutal Con-Dem government.
Rather than increasing fees and cutting jobs, institutions should set 'needs' or 'no-cuts' budgets, even if this means temporarily increasing their debt. They should then join students to demand that the government funds education properly.
Youth Fight for Education will be there to make the message loud and clear to the government too. It they think that they have got away with these attacks then they can think again.
Young people will be joining in solidarity with lecturers on a budget day education shut down and on the 26 March TUC demonstration, demanding that the austerity agenda is scrapped and that young people are given the chance of a decent future.
24 February day of action
Say no to the tripling of tuition fees
Call for university managements to refuse to carry out Con-Dem cuts.
Assemble 12.00 Tavistock Square in London - or see www.youthfightforeducation.com for events where you are!