I've been listening to conference, and conference has told me that NUS needs to change. When students turn to us, for help or support or arguments or ideas, they don't get it. And worst still, they're told they don't get it. People see an NUS more interested in infighting and factions than fighting fees. But the change starts here and the change starts now, because our NUS is gonna be different.
The future remains uncertain and the higher education sector has many challenges to face in 2017and beyond. There may be some consequential market adjustment that would have regional impact both economically and politically. However, universities will continue to tackle these head on and no doubt discover new opportunities.
There is a growing trend in world politics to treat human movement as a bargaining chip for political gain. Debates, such as the one recently in the Commons, often overlook the uncomfortable reality that we are discussing the futures of real individuals - over three million of them - who have contributed so much to our economy and culture. .. If we are going to get through these negotiations, it must be in the best interests of this country that we treat with respect the three million EU workers whose work here has benefited our country and helped make us the fifth largest economy in the world.
This is a small battle in a huge conflict. It is a conflict between a state that provides for, nurtures and empowers it citizens, and a free-market, free-for-all that leaves all but a few worse off, that erodes notions like collective effort and genuine altruism and replaces them with individual greed and cut-throat competition.
It goes without saying that every exchange student's experience will be as diverse the locations they travel to, but I believe that there are some fundamental difficulties and benefits met by everyone on a year abroad. Armed with the best journalistic intentions, I have set about to talk frankly about each of these, in the most balanced and honest way possible.
I am enjoying being in the company of those who recognise the opportunities that a qualifications framework creates and proud that I am able to offer my support as Bosnia and Herzegovina attempts to realise those opportunities. I am worried though that in the UK we have got so used to having the FHEQ that we have become complacent as to its importance, we must all guard against this.
UCAS applications close this Sunday and young people across the UK are frantically revising personal statements and deciding and then deciding again, (for the hundredth time!), which Universities will make it on to their application. Not all of you though - some will be undecided on whether University is right for you and will be struggling with whether to even apply, never mind where.
It is our job, as unions, to stand firm and hold onto a radical commitment, in an age where we're fed a message at every turn not to do so, to being political - to challenging university leaders, government and wider society where we have to, and doing so in a truly democratic, grass roots way - with students, not for them. If we lose this commitment, we lose everything.
These are indeed exciting times for the world of education, and for those who are seeking new ways to equip themselves with the skills they need to succeed at life. We owe it to the students of the future - those currently at school, or stuck in jobs dreaming of a better, more fulfilling career - to give them a true choice, and the ability to access educational excellence.
Explaining the US health system to UK and European audiences can be a challenge. In the US, access to affordable healthcare is a very emotive subject, attracting strong opinions across the spectrum. With the new President-elect heralding a shake-up for Obamacare - which was introduced to provide greater access to healthcare - emotions are likely to rise higher over coming months as this policy becomes a key area of focus for the new administration.