England & Wales – Protest against fees 25th Feb

16 02 2009

Fight any increase in fees and attacks on education

Join the national protest on 25 february

Soas, central London, 12 noon

Fight for your future


 

This year the government will review the present cap of £3,145 on university fees. John Denham, the universities minister, recently commissioned a report from arch privateer Sir John Chisholm recommending that elite universities should be able to charge whatever they like. Vice chancellors want to charge tens of thousands of pounds to compete with rich US universities. Whatever the outcome of the review students will be expected to pay even more for the funding crisis in higher education. Many universities have lost millions in the collapsing banks. They are budgeting for students to pay more and will make brutal cuts on campuses to balance the books. Already courses are being cut and staff sacked at Swansea and Southampton universities and elsewhere. This year the government has cut grants for thousands of university students. Many further education students have not received their Education Maintenance Allowance because Liberata, a private company given a fat contract by the government, has failed to process their applications.

As the economic crisis worsens, drop out rates will rise. As high street shops and bars close students will struggle to get part time work to fund their studies. Books, rent, transport and food costs, and utility bills are all putting pressure on budgets. The government has found the money to bail out the fat cats and bankers who gambled recklessly, but where is the money for those who are forced to drop out of education and those losing their jobs and their homes? We cannot accept this! We have to organise a mass campaign of students protests and campaigns in every university, college and school, linking up with workers fighting pay cuts, job losses, repossessions and attacks on public services.

Build for the 25 february

The Campaign to Defeat Fees (CDF) is mobilising for the protest against fees and for free education in central London on 25 February. We want this protest to be a step towards building a mass democratic campaign against the government’s attacks. Contact the CDF for model motions to get your student union to support the demonstration and for help and advice building for 25 February.

This economic crisis has shown the money is there to fund universal, free, top quality, fully publicly funded education. Last October the government threw £38 billion at the banks. This money could be used to scrap fees and introduce living grants for all students. But New Labour, like all the main parties, would rather attack public services and protect the interests of big business than help ordinary students.

But they can be stopped! The huge unpopularity of student fees meant that MPs were forced to revolt in large numbers over previous votes. With a fighting campaign, we can ensure that they do not get away with further increases in student fees in England, Northern Ireland or in Wales.

2008 saw struggles across Europe against attacks on education. In Germany in the state of Hessen, a sustained campaign of students and workers involving strikes and demonstrations has forced the state government to promise to abolish university fees.

The National Union of Students, a national organisation with millions of members, has the resources to fight for students and organise a mass campaign. However the pro-New Labour NUS leaders are deliberately not organising a mass campaign during the review to protect the New Labour government and have removed the union’s democratic structures to prevent campaigning by students. We won’t wait for the NUS to act!

Socialist Students initiated the CDF to put forward a fighting strategy against fees, cuts and privatisation. Over 5,000 students have signed the CDF petition calling for mass action. The campaign has won support from John McDonnell MP and many others in the student and labour movement. The CDF has organised national days of action in over 50 universities and colleges and played a leading role in the recent protests and occupations in Manchester, Southampton, Lincoln and Exeter universities highlighting the potential to build campaigning on campuses and the need to link this up into a national mass campaign.


Youth fight for jobs

Students rely on part-time jobs to get by, but this economic crisis means finding jobs will be more and more difficult. The government’s National Internship Scheme means graduates who can’t find jobs will be forced to live on a student loan income while working a full time job with no guarantee of a permanent contract! Young people in universities, colleges, schools, workplaces and communities need to organise together and fight against unemployment and for decent jobs.

 

Support Youth Fight for Jobs

sign up to the campaign on www.youthfightforjobs.com join the protests at the G2O April 2-4.


 

The Campaign to Defeat Fees says

  • Scrap all student fees now. No to lifting the cap on university fees.
  • Bail out the students! The government must immediately set up a hardship fund for struggling students. No student should have to drop out for financial reasons.
  • No to cuts, closures and privatisation. Tax the super-rich and big business. Fully publicly fund our education.
  • Write off all student debt.
  • Introduce a living grant and a living EMA for all students. Take the EMA out of the hands of private contracters. Pay back all money owed to students.
  • No to cheap labour apprenticeships and the National Internship Scheme! For all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end.
  • Organise a fightback in education based on mass action nationally coordinated by students unions and trade unions.
  • Build a mass campaign of students and workers to fight for free, publicly funded, top quality education for all
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