Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Students to stage lecture walkouts

The National Union of Students Come Clean campaign calls for a public debate on issues such as student funding
The National Union of Students Come Clean campaign calls for a public debate on issues such as student funding

Tens of thousands of students are expected to take part in a national walkout this week in protest at the Government's plans for higher education.

Wednesday's action will see students at campuses across the UK boycott lectures to show what universities will look like if higher education becomes too expensive.

The move is part of the National Union of Students (NUS) Come Clean campaign, which calls for a public debate on issues such as student funding and planned university reforms.

The walkout comes in a week of action designed to show that high tuition fees, hidden course costs and a lack of bursaries are pricing students out of education.

The NUS said it wants universities to come clean on the cost of being a student, and for the Government to come clean on the future of the education system.

NUS president Liam Burns said: "The Government tripled tuition fees without legislation around it being discussed. The White Paper came out with probably far more damaging reforms than first represented and now the Government has said it's not going to put the Higher Education (HE) Bill forward. That's not good enough."

It was reported in January that the Government is planning to shelve, or delay the HE Bill, which contains measures on changing the university system to make it more competitive.

Mr Burns said that the Come Clean campaign and national walkout will say to Government that "you can run and hide all you like in bringing the legislation forward" but that the union intended to make sure there was a public debate on the issues. "We want MPs, the Government and vice-chancellors to come clean on what's going on in the HE sector," he said.

The walkout will see students taking part in demonstrations, signing petitions and other action to highlight their cause.

"There's been lots of interest, tens of thousands will be taking part," Mr Burns added. "The important thing is to keep things going."

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