Is there hope for believers of free education? That’s a serious question. When access to education becomes something that young people begin to show concern about, surely we have to ask ourselves what is going on with the current situation. Since the change in tuition fees, students have faced more and more uncertainty about study at university and where it can lead. The burden of debt placed upon students at such a young age inevitably leads to the marginalisation and exclusion of so many students, who don’t trust our economy to be able to repay the debt. Additionally, increasing rent costs for worse accommodation year on year is a major factor.
The current coalition government’s stance on privatising education has brought market forces into children’s learning, both through universities and the implementation of academy school status. This is through the inherent failure of the Liberal Democrats – the coalition’s understudy partner – to uphold their core values of free education. Ironically, the failed Lib Dem policy of eliminating tuition fees, which arguably allowed them their electoral success in 2010, may be their downfall; it serves as a lightning-rod for widespread discontent with attacks on education.
But wait! This article isn’t just another Lib Dem bashing exercise, but a glimmer of hope for the future, in education at least. As we see in many other countries in Europe, namely Germany and France, there are no, or barely any, tuition fees enforced on students to study at public higher education institutions. Through its federal system, there is now a clear and coherent position that higher education for students in Germany shall be state funded. This allows participation in University level education to be within reach of all those who wish to grasp it. Germany’s fight for free education has not been easy, but throughout the efforts of the last decade, they have managed to show it is possible.
Therefore, with this possibility glimmering in the mind of the country’s student population, there is a demonstration being held in Central London on Wednesday 19th November. The event will be jointly organised by The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, The Young Greens, and The Student Assembly Against Austerity. The demo is being held under the banner of ‘Free Education: No fees. No cuts. No debt’.
It is undeniably a crucial time for anyone who believes in the idea of a public education system, which can work for the people and can be available and accessible to all, to stand up and be part of a voice striving for a chance of fairer opportunities in the future.
Alongside the ready and assiduous support of YUSU, who have grounded their solidarity in this demonstration by helping to pay subsidy on transport to and from London on the day, you have your chance to make your stand for free education once more. Tickets are available now – I urge you to come along and take part in the fight towards free education.