25 Photos From Today’s Student Demonstration In London
Thousands of students and university staff took to London’s streets Saturday in protest. The demo, organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU), called for free, quality further and higher education that is accessible to all.
Prior to the demo, the NUS said, “education everywhere is under attack, it’s time to take a stand.”
This comes after the government announced the scrapping of maintenance grants in favour of more loans, the abolition of bursaries for student nurses and midwives, and the controversial HE Bill. The bill will introduce a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) that will use, amongst other markers, student satisfaction surveys to rate universities (gold, silver or bronze) and therefore dictate which can increase their fees.
The UCU says tuition fees are set to reach £12,000 per year by 2026.
1. The march got underway with protesters chanting, “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts”.
Other chants included, “one solution: revolution,” and, “Tory scum”.
19. NUS President, Malia Bouattia, began the rally.
She spoke about how she seeks, in her role as NUS Pres, to put forward an alternative vision of society to that offered by the current government. Malia told crowds, “It’s a fight for our vision of what our society should be based on: social good, solidarity and collective growth”.
She said the movement will “reject the despair, inequality and racist rhetoric that this government is trying to normalise and instead offer hope”.
Malia outlined her goals, “to combat antisemitism, to tackle hate crime, to make our campuses and communities a safe place for all and show our collective strength against attempts to divide us”.
Sorana Vieru, NUS VP for Higher Education, told students and university staff, “NUS is calling for a boycott of the NSS – you won’t have your survey data until you give us our money back”.
Sally Hunt, General Secretary of UCU, told crowds, “We want an end to student loans and debt,” and talked about the importance of letting EU students know they are welcome in the UK post-Brexit.