By Hayden Cooper, Defend Education Exeter and Student Assembly Against Austerity National Committee
Education is under attack, now more than ever. The publication of the Green Paper should be concern for everyone it affects more than just students, academics, and education staff, it concerns all of us.
The proposals made stand against everything the Student Assembly Against Austerity and its allies stand for.
First and foremost the potential unlimited fees would be devastating to working class students; tying fees to inflation rates puts the most vulnerable in society at the mercy of the markets and further commodifies education. The anti-fee position amongst large portions of students is well known, this move to increase them is a direct attack on the NUS’ democratic legitimacy. As well as this, the linking fees to performance will further create hierarchies in our education; approved institutions will have an even larger amount of resources at their disposal whereas lesser institutions will be left with fewer funds to better themselves with, creating a system where the poor can only attend universities who don’t perform well and have little hope of improving.
Secondly, the Green Paper directly attacks the NUS, it’s intent is quite clear to strip it of its union powers and remove with that any force of good it could possibly be. This ideological and vicious move will strip students of the true and fair reputation they have fought for in the past. These attacks reek of manipulation against a public body who openly disagrees with the Government’s education plans, it is a dangerous piece of political manoeuvring that must be stopped.
The introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework further devastates professors and students; with performance linked intrinsically to students post-graduation work. This directly places the value of education on the failing and crippled economic market, weakened by the austerity measures put in place. Essentially, weaker universities will get weaker and any fluxuation in the market will devastate all but the Russell Group behemoths that already dominate our education system.
Finally, the focus on the free market within the paper cements our concerns that education is becoming a casualised product in the eyes of the Government. Education is not a commodity and it’s treatment like such is appalling.
The Student Assembly rejects the Green Paper. The Student Assembly rejects TEF. The Student Assembly rejects tuition fees.
Join us in the fight back, now is the time to let your voices heard. This might be the greatest threat education has ever faced in the UK but the ever growing student movement will fight back to every cut, to every threat, to every injustice.
This paper can be stopped but only with your help.
Unite and Fight.