THE UNITED FOR EDUCATION PROTEST, A DEMONSTRATION ORGANISED BY THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS (NUS), TOOK PLACE ON SATURDAY. ITS PURPOSE WAS SIMPLE; DEMAND “FREE, ACCESSIBLE AND QUALITY” EDUCATION FOR ALL. IT DEFINITELY SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING US STUDENTS SHOULD BE KEEN TO FIGHT FOR, BUT WHY IS IT MORE SIGNIFICANT NOW THAN EVER? NERVE ONLINE INVESTIGATES.
Urging more funding for education, the rally stood for a message resonating with students all over the country. As a result, thousands of individuals attended the event, a hugely impressive number considering the torrential downpour that the protestors had to face.
What was NUS the rally for?
According to NUS, the government “is waging war on students and our education”. Essentially, it is forcing universities to run like businesses (not ideal when we are attending university to escape that world for a little longer). Taking place under the banner of United for Education, the rally intends to demand free, quality further and higher education, accessible to all.
Arguably, the government has never really been on universities side (thanks a bunch for the £9k tuition fee). But what is key to this rally, is that the NUS has raised fears that education is
under attack like never before.
Essentially, according to NUS, “FE colleges have closed. Jobs have been lost and students are being forced deeper and deeper into debt by a government happy to see
companies making profit off the back of student poverty.
What does that all really mean?
Not sure how this all effects you? According to The Huffington Post, here’s how it will directly impact your university experience:
- Maintenance grants worth around £3,500 have been replaced with loans that have to be paid back
- Nurses and midwives will see bursaries abolished from 2017
- In September, tuition fees will rise to £9,250, a number that is expected to increase to £12,000 by 2026
Can it continue to get worse?
Unfortunately, yes. NUS President Malia Bouattia has more bad news revealing that
The further education college review process risks college closures across the country.
And, if that wasn’t bad enough, UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt has drawn attention to the fact that
“staff pay has been held down in recent years, while the gender pay gap has risen”.
So, what can we do?
As students, it is absolutely essential that we help take a stand against force that puts our education in jeopardy. Fundamentally, the government should be investing in our future and is instead removing the right to equal education. Understandably, we might not be able to create a big protest that makes as much noise as last weekends rally did, but there are plenty of things that we can do to make our mark.
Firstly, creating social chatter, spreading the word across campus and even going as far as holding mini-rallies is a start.
But if nothing else, it’s essential that we understand the significance that government decisions are having. As a result, turning up to vote, keeping up with laws effecting our generation and gaining an understanding of what different parties stand for is a great way to start making a difference for the future of students.