Student protest in London: Your views


Thousands of students and lecturers have gathered in London to demonstrate against plans to almost treble tuition fees in England to £9,000 per year.

There have been clashes between demonstrators and police.

Protesters have broken into the building housing the Conservative Party headquarters in Westminster and have set fire to placards outside.

Here, people connected to further and higher education have been speaking about the rise in tuition fees and the protest in London.

Sasha Callaghan, lecturer, Edinburgh

I went to the march and it was a positive day. The energy and determination of students to fight against the cuts was inspirational.

Image caption,
Sarah Noorbakhsh took this shot of a bonfire outside Millbank Tower in central London

My reasons for going along today was not only about the rise in tuition fees. This is also about the future of education after the age of 16; the decision to cut the Education Maintenance Allowance for poorer students; the cuts to funding for students with additional support needs; and education in prisons.

Every college, university, adult education service and prison education unit is threatened whilst the people who caused this crisis have just walked away with billions of pounds.

There won't be a college or a university in the UK where there will not be a threat of redundancy. I believe that some may even close because of the cuts.

All the government's talk about a 'Big Society' really comes to nothing.

I was at Millbank where students were protesting, and I can understand their anger.

Matthew Wilde, A-level student, Devon

My friend and I are protesting against the fees. I'm a member of Young Labour and will be joining them at the rally.

It's going to cost a lot of money to go to university. The wealthy can pay upfront but what about other people who will not have a highly paid job?

I think the fees are grossly unfair for hard-working people who will be on low pay.

It is extortionate to charge such high fees. Why not just cut the number of places at university and keep the lower fees - go back to the old days?

I'm doing my A-levels in Somerset and I was hoping to go to university in 2012 to study politics, but I'm not sure now.

Teachers don't know what to advise students about higher education at the moment.

Tom Palmer, economics student, London

I am a third year student at UCL. Having looked at the Browne Report and the arrangements that have been proposed by the UK government since, nothing seems to be particularly unreasonable. We are going through huge government cuts and to expect higher education to be exempt from that would only mean greater cuts to other departments.

Higher education holds the key to innovation and growth so it is important that they are able to recoup the losses from the government cuts - the logical way of doing so being increased fees. I am from a lower middle class background and if my fees were structured as proposed it would not stop me from going to university.

I would know that I would pay back the fees based on income in the future and would have nothing to do with the background from which I came. That means those who earn the most will pay a greater sum each year than those who earn less.

I get frustrated at my fellow undergraduates who argue that fees should not be increased - students have been largely unaffected by the crisis that has taken place over recent years, it's time that we feel the pinch too.

I am worried to a certain extent about the job market and that we will be affected by the cuts. But it is also good news to see that the private sector is picking up and more jobs will come.

Johnny Davis, sabbatical officer, Birmingham

Eleven coach-loads of students left Birmingham University to march on parliament and have our voices heard.

The level of passion to protest is amazing. It shows how people are very concerned.

This is an outrage to all students who have been told for the last decade to raise their aspirations and go to university. It seems that students are getting hit time after time.

Now those from lower incomes will never see the benefit of education and the middle income families will be the ones with the biggest bills to pay at the end.

With knowledge as our biggest trade export nowadays what are young people who cannot afford to go to university any more supposed to do? Still maybe it is better to be a 'Not in Education, Employment or Training' (NEET) at 18 than an unemployed graduate at 21.

I understand all areas have to endure cuts. But in the Spending Review, it seems that fees will be raised to plug the deficit gap. Cutting teaching staff and the higher education budget is not a 'fair share' of the cuts.

The government wouldn't impose such cuts on the bankers because they tend to fund the political parties.