YUSU sabbatical officers Dom Smithies (community and wellbeing officer) and Tamaki Laycock (academic officer), are to join a delegation at the March for Education in London. The event, which will take place on Saturday 19 November, is a national demonstration organised jointly by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union. YUSU is not endorsing the march as the sabbatical officers will be in attendence as individuals, not union representives.
The aim of the march, according to its organisers, is to highlight the effect of government cuts, with the protest calling for “free, good quality further and higher education, accessible for all”.
The main aims of the march are to pressure the government into investing in further education colleges and sixth forms and to stop college mergers. The march also calls for the government to write off student debt, stop private education companies profiting from student fees, and to halt the rise in tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants.
The NUS stated on their page for the event that “In HE, tuition fees are rising and the government is forcing universities to run like businesses. Students are facing higher debt than ever before with maintenance grants and NHS bursaries scrapped, student loan terms changed and tuition fees set to reach £12 000 by 2026.”
A coach down to the march is being organised by individuals for those who want to attend, leaving on the Saturday.
Community and wellbeing officer Dom Smithies said: “The demonstration calls for free, accessible and quality education in the UK and seeks to challenge the marketisation of the education sector. It was called, in part, in response to the government’s Higher Education and Research Bill . While we obviously value a focus on teaching quality the metrics in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) are hugely concerning. This demonstration is a rally to challenge the imminent increase in fees across universities and to demand consultation with & representation of students within the Office for Students.”