“Education for the masses, not just the ruling classes.”
These were the chants of thousands of students who took to the streets of London this week, to march against the government’s education policies and demand that it be funded by the richest members of society, reported The Guardian.
The demonstration took place just in time, only a week before the government’s annual budget is released.
Last year was the first year where the government only offered the poorest student repayable maintenance loans rather than grants. Many students are expected to finish university saddled with debts worth more than £50,000 (US$66,000).
The march was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), who envisage a future where education is free.
Student tuition fees protest in London (15/11/2017) pic.twitter.com/sme5ExOEjJ
— sandybaby (@madeinghana91) November 15, 2017
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbin supported the protest. The Guardian reported that he said: “The political establishment has betrayed young people. Since 2010, the Tories have made unprecedented cuts to further education.
“Now the Tories think that capping university fees at £9,250 will be some sort of remedy to all this. What an insult. Everyone should have access to free education, from the cradle to the grave.”
“We’re demanding education free at the point of use by taxing the rich — the abolition of tuition fees, full non-means tested living grants for all students, and an end to the job cuts affecting university and college campuses across the country,” NCAFC member Andy Warren told Sputnik.
“This is perfectly achievable — we’re already winning the argument. We helped elect Corbyn, and shape the party’s education policies in their 2017 manifesto, which helped wipe out the government’s majority.”
— Lucy Hough (@lucyhough33) November 15, 2017
Over 60 student unions and colleges from across the country took part in the protest, including Durham, Oxford and Cambridge and students are traveling to London from as far as Aberdeen, Bangor and Falmouth.
“The march was energetic. They had a clear message that people needed to organize to fight for free education,” Charlotte Kinzie, who was at the march, told Study International.
There was only one violent incident at the protest, when an opposing demonstrator holding a placard of Margaret Thatcher and claiming to be from ‘Tory HQ’, was punched.
However, no arrests were made.