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Nottingham students protest at the National Demo for Free Education

The demonstration in London, on Wednesday 14th November, was attended by University of Nottingham (UoN) students along with 60 other Student Unions across the UK.

The event was organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) in order to march “against tuition fees, for living grants, and for an education system that serves people not profit.”

Most UK students are charged around £9000 a year for an undergraduate degree. This means that we accrue a minimum debt of £27,000 after just three years of study.

“Economically there is no question that the government could afford to pay for our tuition fees”

Current government policy replaced maintenance grants with maintenance loans after the 2016/ 17 academic year. However, these loans would only have to be paid back once the student has earnt over £21,000 a year.

Will Sharland, President of UoN Socialist Students, attended the demonstration because he views the education cuts as a “complete disgrace and something that should be reversed immediately. Economically there is no question that the government could afford to pay for our tuition fees.”

Demonstrators holding signs during the demo

Talking about student participation, Will told Impact:

“More and more people are realising that these things are not inevitable, but are instead done consciously by the powerful and can be challenged if serious activism is put into reversing these scary trends which is why I think people are becoming more involved in demos like these.”

“we stopped by the Houses of Parliament so the message must have gotten to MPs”

Nottingham’s Student Union offered £5 tickets for a coach to and from London to attend the demonstration, which many students attended.

An attendee observed that “a lot of people were there… we stopped by the Houses of Parliament so the message must have gotten to MPs.”

But the event has received some backlash online. Questions as to why this year’s demonstration was not endorsed by the National Union of Students have been raised.

In addition, other commentators have likened the purpose of the march to asking for ‘free handouts’.

Pamela Tickell

Featured image courtesy of ‘ Natasha Quarmby Photography’.
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