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From: The Socialist issue 914, 31 August 2016: #KeepCorbyn: For a party that fights for workers

Search site for keywords: Education - Student - Working class - Cuts - Austerity - Socialist Students - Students - Debt - Government - University - Schools - College - Universities - Academies - Free Schools - Youth - Higher Education - Young people

Join the student fightback to end education cuts and austerity

Students marching, London 4.11.15, photo Scott Jones

Students marching, London 4.11.15, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

As the new academic term begins, students at schools, college and universities around the country face a year of important struggles. Here two young people comment on some of the difficulties facing working class students.

Alice Murray, school student

There are many things that anger students in the current economic crisis. However, more recent betrayals have really hit home for this generation.

Cuts to education have affected us dramatically, for instance the range of subjects have become extremely limited. Vocational subjects that allow students who don't excel academically to gain useful skills have been cut.

One of the reasons for this is that teachers are being made redundant; many of my peers have been told that they're unable to pursue their interests in child development, health and social care and performing arts, all because of vicious cuts. Now our schools are gradually becoming academies. They're transforming into businesses discriminating against the poor - even the food is now extortionate.

Another aspect of the government's attacks that directly affects our generation is exam grade boundaries. The increase of these makes it almost impossible to achieve good grades.

This becomes a class issue when privately educated students are privileged with small classes, well paid qualified teachers and better equipment. This means they achieve high grades bringing up school averages and therefore grade boundaries, keeping the working class out of university and well paid jobs.

These are only a few of the many attacks that especially target the younger generations and the struggle posed by the Tory government's austerity.

The destruction of the working class student

Mark Attwood, student

I'm 18 and about to start a bachelor's degree, which really should help me achieve my goals and dreams in life, right? However, after my degree I will also be in over 50,000 of debt just like hundreds of thousands of other students. This is unacceptable.

An investment in your future should mean you definitely have one worth investing in. But the reality is I could go to university, study solidly for years, and come out feeling like Aristotle, but it will never guarantee me the good future I worked hard for. Therefore I think it's perfectly acceptable to say that higher education is not worth even close to 9,000 a year.

Students are the future of this 'great' country, and should be entitled to a high standard of education without putting them in over 50,000 worth of debt. Even if they do end up one of the lucky ones with a pretty big salary, they have to pay even more for an education that was probably still not worth it.

With only an average of ten or eleven hours of lectures a week, I highly doubt there are students out there feeling liberated knowing they spent 9,000 annually.

And with the addition of some universities raising their fee to 9,250 a year, working class students and working class families can rarely afford this huge amount of debt - it is entirely discouraging. I have seen this first-hand with most of my friends, who do not see the point in going to university.

For all we know, they could be the next Picasso, or the next Mozart. The government values the profits of companies and war over the futures of coming generations. I find this utterly mind boggling, as a socialist. Britain spends 60 million on machines of death which could be spent on better things, like the NHS or housing and helping the homeless.

For the solution to this madness we need leaders who can put their foot down and turn away from big businesses looking to fill their greed-meters, and say: "The future belongs to the young". We must ensure that everyone, from every background and every corner of society can enjoy an education packed with opportunity and discovery, without having to worry about any debt.

We demand:

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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