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As I’m sure many of you are aware, Central SU will be attending the #FreeEdNOW demonstration on Wednesday 15th November, this march is organised by NCAFC (National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts) who believe Free and accessible education for everyone is within our reach!

We will be marching through the streets of London and anticipate that thousands of students will turn out for Free education! We are marching because we believe that every person should readily have access to education and we are demanding that the government scrap all fees, provide living grants for all and stop making cuts on campuses nationwide.

We believe it is both viable and realistic to fund education through taxing the rich- the recent release of the Paradise Papers has lead to scrutiny of those who are hoarding their wealth and investing it secretively offshore. This money is being withheld and preventing us from creating a more inclusive and accessible education system. The current system benefits those who already have significant private funds and privilege in our society and it is time for positive change to combat that.

I would be shocked if I was the only person that is sick of having to buy into a consumerist culture during my time at university when I should be focusing on my studies instead of mounting student debt and other financial concerns.

I was recently invited to submit evidence to a select committee set up to discuss university fees which was named the “Value for money in higher education inquiry”. The very notion of regarding the experience of higher education as adding up to a monetary “value” was an immediate cause for concern, especially since this language is cropping up frequently when discussing our higher education system.

Reducing an experience that not only teaches you academic skills, but also offers practical preparation for a professional working life, to the marketisation and branding of an institution is counterproductive to students’ learning processes!

Universities are now graded with a gold, silver or bronze according to a selection of statistics, which are often not fully representative of an institution’s credentials. It has been speculated that these medals ('awarded' through the teaching excellence framework) will eventually allow institutions to charge more fees if they are Gold level rather than Bronze. This could have a serious detrimental effect on those from low socio-economic backgrounds, with the problematic suggestion that those who cannot afford higher fees (based on the university’s award status) do not deserve the same quality of education as those who are wealthier.

The government are busy implementing big changes across the board, but we are suggesting bigger and better changes.

Each of you at Central will be paying upward of £9000 a year for tuition fees, with international students racking up even more debt. The less money a student has when entering university, the higher the level of debt incurred through the shoddy maintenance loan system.

So ... Students who are dissatisfied, this is a call for you to act on this and join us in fixing the education system!

The need for unity from Students Unions across the country has never been more urgent.

Please consider joining Central SU outside the front steps at 11am on the 15th November to get creative with placard making, receive Bust Cards and prepare to march the streets of London. Do not be put off by missing your Wednesday afternoon classes as tutors have been notified of the demo in advance. If you have any specific accessibility needs, email Jake at [email protected] As I am out of the country on placement this term, I am relying on you all to make Central’s voice loud and clear amongst the masses.

Stay safe, have fun and make sure to post any pictures on the Central SU- Campaigns Facebook page!

Join us in abolishing tuition fees, solidifying job security for university staff nationwide, and creating a structure that serves the purpose of educating people rather than seeking profit. This is all within our reach. #FreeEdNOW

#SU #FreeEducation #March

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