Posted on Wed 08 Nov 2017 at 11:08 by Lewis Macleod
On November 15th, thousands of students across the country will be marching through the streets of London to demand the abolition of tuition fees, living grants for all, and an end to campus cuts. The ‘Free Education Now – Tax the Rich!’ demonstration has been organised by The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) – a network of student activists and education workers across the UK fighting for free and democratic education.
Over the last few months, the political landscape has changed drastically. The abolition of tuition fees was one of the most popular, and most widely discussed, policies in the snap general election, and young people turned out in droves to vote for it. A tuition-free education is within our grasp – now it’s time to seize it.
But this demonstration is about more than just tuition fees: it’s about securing a universal living grants system available to all, and stopping the waves of cuts to colleges and universities. Because the absence of tuition fees does not in and of itself constitute ‘free education’ – although it would be a fantastic and necessary first step. Education is not free when students are still saddled with thousands – tens of thousands – of pounds in student loan debts. And it is not free when students are forced to work full-time hours alongside studies in order to make rent.
With a student support system predicated primarily on loans, working class students are saddled with the greatest debt. Many students, disproportionately LGBTQ+ students, are left to fall through the cracks of a broken means-tested system that assumes parental contribution. A large number of international students are left with no loan or grant at all, and are made to live in poverty to gain an education. Student support is not sufficient, and the system simply isn’t fit for purpose. On the other hand, universal living grants would ensure that education was free regardless of where you come from, your parental income, or at which level you choose to study.
There is enormous wealth in our society, but it is concentrated in the hands of the rich and big business. It’s time that wealth was taxed, and used for the public good: for a truly free education system, accessible to all. Because education should not be a privilege, but a basic human right.
That’s why Aberdeen students will be making the long trip down London, as we do year after year, joining thousands of activists from across the country in the fight for free education.
We travel the furthest, and shout the loudest…
So join us! Log onto the AUSA website now and book return travel down to the demonstration for just £10 a ticket here:
Check out the facebook event for the demonstration here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1405855222863843/