At its meeting on Monday, the National Union of Students executive adopted the following motion, ending its long-standing and bizarre opposition to free higher education. Along with the results of national conference, which called a national demo and a national FE walkout and raised the slogan “tax the rich to fund education”, it comprises the most radical platform that NUS has had in many years. A fuller report will be written in the coming days.
1. Education is a public right at any level and qualification not a privilege as the current market agenda within the education sector would lead us to believe.
2. Higher education is now as much as £9,000 a year for undergraduate home students and unregulated for International, Post Graduate and Further Education courses.
3. The governments priorities continue to be spending billions of pound on warfare rather than investing in health and education that would be of public good.
NUS Further Believes:
1. That HE should be a public service, with publicly owned, publicly funded universities, run by workers, students and communities. We demand adequate public funding.
2. Taking a principled policy stance on how we wish the utopian education system to be funded does not preclude being able to negotiate with pragmatic short-term solutions.
3. Progressive taxation should fund a free education system as all within society benefit from education, training and skill even if it is not them directly being trained or educated.
1. Our fundamental and principled position on education funding should be that it is free at all and any level.
2. To call for this to be funded by a more progressive taxation system, finding new academic and innovative ways to express this.
3. This does not preclude our ability to negotiate and compromise for something slightly better for prospective students such as a graduate tax in the short term.
4. To run a campaign “Access for all” highlighting the disastrous effect of deregulated fees and of the tiered restructuring of HE (in terms of both more and less prestigious universities), demanding a free and expanded higher education open to all.