Winning the argument for Free Education


In many countries, education is free as a right. And now, thanks to the huge popularity behind Labour’s pledge to abolish fees and bring back grants in the general election, we might be on the verge of seeing free education in the UK too.

So what is the case for taxing the rich to provide free education? Not only is it a question of students’ rights, it’s key to creating a more democratic, enriched and empowered society. Imagine a society in which nobody is taught to build bridges, create films, analyse history, provide medical care, investigate the universe, or programme computers.

The idea that education is a commodity, that students should pay for their own because it’s their own business and nobody else’s, is absurd. Education benefits the whole of society, so just like any other social good it should be shared and funded by society – first of all, funded by the richest. Education helps individuals to develop to our fullest potential and engage with the world around us creatively and consciously.

Regardless of whether it gets you a job, this is liberating: granting understanding, confidence, and breadth of vision. This true not just of individuals, but classes of society collectively. Education helps equip marginalised and exploited groups to analyse and describe their own situation, and fight back – in the struggle for the working class’s emancipation and against sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and disablism.

Naturally, those in power want to control both who can access what education and what they’re taught. This is part of how they maintain their position. Cuts and tuition fees are a project to create a market, forcing universities and colleges to compete rather than cooperating as parts of a democratic public service.

Universities spend on flashy marketing at the expense of welfare services for students and wages for teachers. Departments teaching less profitable subjects are downsized, while money from businesses becomes more important, giving them the power to bias what we are taught and what gets research.

The government wants to reduce education to an industrial pipeline, supplying trained employees ready to be exploited for profit. We believe that every single person in society should have to right to access education. Abolishing fees is a crucial step to achieving that. If you agree, join us and join the fight!


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