City students launch a battle on tuition fees

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STUDENTS in Sheffield are today being urged to rally for a major campaign against university tuition fees.
The University of Sheffield Students’ Union is launching the drive as undergraduates begin to pay £9,000 a year and Government cuts to education budgets begin to bite.

President Abdi Suleiman said people were being put off university and the ultimate aim was to for free education - available in other countries such as Sweden and Mexico.

He told The Star: “The campaign has many different strands to it, so on student fees we accept that will be the most difficult.

“What has sparked it is that this is the first generation of students paying £9,000 a year, when in France is about 160 Euros , Germany 500 and in Sweden up to PhD level it is free.

“Our students are being patronised and told ‘don’t worry, it is not a real debt.’

“It’s not just about free education as some weird principle, it happens in other places.

“It is just a question of moving money which is spent on wars. A fraction of the cost of tax evasion, at around £50 to £122 billion, would pay for free education.”

Hundreds of students are expected to attend an open meeting at the union auditorium at 5pm on Wednesday, October 3.

There plans for the campaign will be shaped.

Individual protests against the ‘demonization’ of international students, cuts to teaching budgets and education funding and calling for the reinstatement of public investment in education will be part of the Reclaim Your Education campaign.

Officers and staff are also involved with plans to create a dedicated group of campaigners and a national voice for change to make education a ‘right not a privilege’.

Abdi added: “At the moment if you want to do a postgraduate degree there is next to no financial support or loans system.

“There are some brilliant students who cannot afford to carry on studying.”

Students will also mount a renewed attack on Hallam MP Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, after he broke a pledge not to increase tuition fees.

Abdi added: “Despite his recent public apology, Nick Clegg is the only Sheffield MP not to have kept his pledge to fight tuition fees and oppose the explosion of student debt.”