Browne Report – Unlimited fees will cut off higher education for young people

Assembly Executive must scrap feesStudent Unions’ must call protest on 10th November The Assembly Executive and Minster for Employment & Learning was today challenged to scrap fees. The Minister for Employment & Learning, Reg Empey, today decided to put out to public consultation the recommendations of the Browne Report which recommend unlimited fees for higher education courses.

South Belfast Socialist Party representative Paddy Meehan called on the Executive “to reject Lord Browne’s recommendation which will completely transform education into a commercial business. Unlimited fees and cuts to university funding will block access to higher education for thousands of young people at a time when there are no jobs.

“The Assembly Executive has the power to scrap fees completely. Nearly £1 trillion has been spent on bailing out the banks and young people, particularly working class young people, are expected to pick up the bill. This is completely unacceptable. The Assembly Executive must immediately move to scrap fees, and bring back a living grant for students. Rather than throw tens of thousands of young people on the dole, education should be opened up for all.”

Tyler McNally from the Socialist Society at Queen’s University Belfast and first year under-graduate student stated “School students’ now studying to get into university will be asking what is the point? With the prospect of huge debt and no guarantee of a job at the end of it all, the Browne Report proposals will make education the preserve of the wealthy few.

“The students’ unions in Northern Ireland as well as across England, Scotland and Wales must link up to fight for free education for everyone.  The students’ unions at QUB and University of Ulster must call emergency open meetings of students to discuss how to organise against the Browne report proposals. They must call a major protest in Belfast to coincide with the National Union of Students and University and Colleges Union protest on 10th November.”

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