THE BLOG

Labour's Tuition Fee Pledge Has Given Every Student A Reason To Vote

12/05/2017 17:42
Andrew Yates / Reuters

What started as whispers and conversations of discontent on College and University campuses has become the major policy pledge of the 2017 General Election.

The Labour party has promised to end the cuts to schools, provide free childcare and scrap tuition fees in their entirety.

As the general election begins to turn a corner and campaigning by all major political parties ramps up; Labour's shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said "[We] want to introduce - just as the Attlee government with Nye Bevan introduced the National Health Service - we want to introduce a National Education Service."

McDonnell goes on to stress the value of an education system "Free at the point of need throughout life." One that "means ending the cuts in the schools at primary and secondary level. It means free childcare. It means free school training when you need it throughout life. And yes it means scrapping tuition fees once and for all so we don't burden our kids with debt for the future."

The message quickly spread - on social media, in colleges and around campuses all across the country : Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party will make education free.
In the midst of cuts and marketisation - students are provided a rare glimmer of hope. A scarce opportunity to shape our future.

As the excitement reverberates across the student movement; there are many committed activists in the NUS who have spent years forcing free education onto the national agenda celebrating. No longer are we forced to choose between £9,000 and £6,000; the narrative isn't graduate tax or bursary schemes. Its a free education for all. A chance for a fairer society.

And it comes at the perfect time.

As news of the snap general election hit the headlines, Students' Unions and NUS rapidly organized registration drives. All across the UK we have seen SU's and student groups develop creative campaigns and activities to get young people on the electoral register. To overcome the political apathy of recent years. For many students and young people had lost hope that they could win a better world.

The Tories in their premiership have clearly felt they have very little to gain from championing the interests of young people. In recent years too many students have felt politics is not for them, that their interests are never represented. The view that they are all the same.

Never before has that apathy been challenged like this.

We no longer have an excuse. We have to organise. We have to register. We have to vote.

The question we face is a fundamental one: what kind of society do we want. One that necessitates wealth as a prerequisite of an education? One that builds an education system on the principles of competition rather than collaboration? Or do we create something more substantial?

That is the promise behind Labour's pledge to scrap tuition fees. The gift of education. The gift that was given from one generation to the next, one the "great generation" gave to the "baby boomers" - but a gift my generation didn't receive.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS