De Montfort University student’s union officers attended rallies in London on November 19 to protest against Further Education costs.
The demonstration was attended by over 15,000 students and lecturers from across the country all under the banner ‘United for Education’. People were extremely unhappy with the continued rising cost of education, as well as future government policy.
This month, the government set out plans to introduce a teaching excellence framework that will rank universities on their quality and allow the best performing institutions to raise their fees beyond the current £9000 threshold.
Among the thousands of protesters, were DMU officers Augustus Mbanasor (Deputy President Education), Ahtesham Mahmood (Vice-President Student Activities), Jo lea (Executive Support and Campaigns Coordinator), and Lauren Thomas (Woman’s Representative).
Augustus Mbanasor, who organised DMU’s involvement, said: “The National Demo on the 19th November was all about everyone coming together and uniting for education. Further Education institutions are facing massive cuts and are being forced to merge or shut down.
“These are big changes that will change the shape of our education system and it will affect many students.”
These proposed changes once again mean students will land themselves in greater debt. This follows on from the scrapping of maintenance grants and NHS bursaries last year.
With tuition fees set to rise further to £9,250 in 2017 and predictions of rises to £12,000 by 2026 demonstrated the need for the protest.
The ethos of the rally organised by the National Union for Students (NUS) was to fight for an education system to be free, accessible and quality.
Augustus said: “It is important that we all unite and stand in solidarity for all of the NUS membership and campaign on all issues together.
“Just because the changes may not directly affect us, it does not mean we should stop caring about it, we must fight to save the privileges we had for the future generation that come after us.”
DSU also teamed up with students unions from Loughborough and Leicester College at the march which started at 12:00pm in Park Lane right through Westminster, and concluded in Milibank at 3:45pm, where Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn made an appearance and gave a passionate speech to the crowd.
This was Augustus’ first protest since being elected DP for Education earlier this year and he described the event as a ‘phenomenal experience’.