Education under attack!

For a one day school and college strike – for real jobs and training Seven campuses of the Northern Regional College are set to close as a result of the Assembly Executives cuts. They are located at Portrush, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Larne, Antrim and Newtownabbey. This is a serious attack on the people of the North East, especially for young people who will be deprived of local access to education. It will mean only four campuses stretching from Coleraine, Magherafelt, Ballymena and Newtownabbey will remain to cater for 15,000 students, with fewer staff as a result of job cuts.  

Courses for special needs, engineering, motor vehicle training will be cut back as well as opening hours. Significantly, full-time A-level and AS-level courses are to go from September. The consultation period is a complete farce as it ends on the 23rd August – seven days before the start of the academic year.
The same diet of cuts can be seen throughout the further & higher education system in Northern Ireland. In February a report carried on behalf of Belfast Metropolitan College recommended slashing jobs and cutting community courses that don’t have a qualification associated with them. A-level and AS-level courses have been slowly suffocated. The intention is to eventually scrap them altogether.

These cuts are a direct result of the Assemblies 3% “efficiency savings” and January’s announcement of additional cuts of £19.7million to the Department of Employment and Learning which were unanimously agreed by the politicians in the Executive.
Meanwhile the elitist Russell Group of Universities, which includes Queen’s University Belfast, has proposed hiking interest rates on student loans. This is just another way of increasing tuition fees. This in effect will cut out even more working class people from attending university. With no access to education, growing numbers of young people have nowhere to go but join the growing dole queues.

Officially, youth unemployment now stands at 16%. However this doesn’t take into account 105,000 young people labelled as “economically inactive”. Real youth unemployment is actually closer to 23%!

School & college strikes against cuts
The UCU (lecturers and teachers union) and NIPSA (union representing non-teaching staff) have condemned the cuts. However, this is not enough. A real fight back is needed that links up school, college and university students with teachers and staff under threat in the colleges.

A one-day strike of school and colleges involving both workers and students would lay the basis for a real defence of our education system. With nearly a quarter of young people out of work, the Assembly’s cuts in education and training is preparing the ground for a revolt. Young people must get organised to defend their education and fight for decent jobs and a future. Young people have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations and occupations recently in Greece, Germany, Austria, France and Spain and have shown that youth are not powerless if organised. It is also necessary to link the attacks on education to the attacks on the rest of the working class and build a mass movement against the capitalist system which is ultimately responsible for mass unemployment. The fight for a real future is a fight for a socialist world.

 

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Oil spill is 'worst environmental disaster' to hit US

Next Article

Bradford murders and prostitution

Related Posts

‘Power Sharing’ Assembly delivers austerity, as sectarianism grows

2010 - Time for united working class opposition!

The signing of the St Andrews Agreement in 2006 was meant to represent a framework which would enable the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein to work together as the two largest parties in the Northern Ireland Executive. Peter Hain, Northern Ireland Secretary for State at the time, declared it an “astonishing breakthrough”. This so-called agreement, though, was nothing of the sort.

Successful National Shop Stewarts Conference

As seven workers from Honda Swindon were leaving the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference on Saturday 11 June, one car worker remarked: "I wish we could have brought a coachload!". This was a typical reaction amongst the 350 workers attending the best conference NSSN has held so far, a regular event that is rapidly becoming a feature in the calendar of the labour movement.

Vendetta against Tommy Sheridan results in “guilty” verdict

Statement from Socialist Party Scotland

“I have fought the power of News International all my political life and I make no apologies for taking on the might of Rupert Murdoch. Several million pounds of public money has been spent investigating myself and my wife. Isn’t it about time that similar resources were devoted to investigate the activities of the News of the World.” Tommy Sheridan