A national demonstration in favour of free education has been called by a coalition of student campaign groups, including the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), the Young Greens, and the Student Assembly Against Austerity. The National Union of Students (NUS) have also voiced their support. The demonstration will take place in central London on Wednesday 19th November, under the banner: “No Fees, No Cuts, No Debt”. Occupations and localised direct actions are being planned across the country as part of the resurgence of the student movement against the marketization and privatisation of universities.
The call comes after Germany abolished tuition fees nationwide at the start of October. After Lower Saxony’s announcement, all states will fund at least one undergraduate degree and a consecutive MA, with some offering more. This development is reassuring to many within the UK anti-fees movement, who are hoping that the government will make a similar decision.
The national demonstration aims to address the two tier system of education created by the fees, in which those from poorer backgrounds are shut out from certain areas of higher education, as well as the marketization of universities, which organisers say results in courses being cut, underpaid lecturers and support staff and huge pay packets for managers.
Beth Redmond of the NCAFC said, “Four years on from the election of the Coalition, it is clear that fees have failed. Whole areas of higher and further education are now off limits to anyone without rich parents, and education workers are being squeezed, sacked and outsourced. We are calling this demonstration to take the fight to the government and to demand a public education system that serves society and is free and accessible to everyone.”