The Tory government has recently released it’s future plans for Universities in a ironically titled paper, ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’. There are several key objectives which the government have their hearts set upon, number one being the introduction of higher variable fees.
The Tories are not just unthinking, crazed individuals – they have clearly learnt from the 2010 student protests. Introducing nation-wide tuition fee hikes can act as a glue to bind the the whole student movement across the country together because everyone is affected in the same way at the same time. These variable rates are a clear diversionary tactic, which will be painted as driving forward cost-effective university education, while being used as a tool that attempts to cut across the student movement’s ability to organise. It is likely that, if these proposals are implemented, certain universities will be able to increase fees while others may wait until a more opportune moment to do so as to cut across the movement.
Gordon Marsden, Labour’s shadow higher education and further education minister, summed up a part of the new proposal adequately when he said: “Anyone would welcome a focus on teaching quality and improving the student experience, but this is looking like a Trojan Horse for increased tuition fees and a two-tier system where this government effectively brands some universities as second-class, with the consequent impact on their students’ life chances.”
The Marxist Student Federation’s demands are modest – we stand for free and decent education as part of a society in which the full benefits of economic development can be enjoyed by all. Therefore we stand wholly against these so called ‘reforms.’ We are fighting, and will continue to, for a unified student movement which has the strength and courage of conviction to link up with workers’ movements for the overthrow of capitalism and the chaos which it brings. To do so we need to fight for socialism. In doing so we are fighting for a a brighter future for our generation.
by Scott Shaw, Sheffield Marxists and MSF Executive