Reino Unido: Students and lecturers march against Tories’ education bill

Europa/Reino Unido/20 Noviembre 2016/Fuente:TheGuardian /Autor:Rebecca Ratcliffe

Resumen: Los estudiantes y profesores se han manifestado por el centro de Londres para protestar contra los planes del gobierno para un “experimento del mercado ideológicamente dirigido” que abriría la educación superior del Reino Unido a los gustos de la Universidad Trump y dejar a los estudiantes que enfrentan tasas crecientes.

Students and lecturers have marched through central London to protest against government plans for an “ideologically led market experiment” that would open up UK higher education to the likes of Trump University and leave students facing escalating fees.

Waving signs that read “For sale: students’ future” and “Hi Mum, I’m broke”, protesters marched on Saturday from Park Lane in London, calling for a free, quality education.

Earlier this week the government tabled amendments to its controversial higher education and research bill, but failed to address critics’ key concerns relating to private providers and fees.

The bill will introduce a teaching excellence framework that will rank universities by quality, and allow the best-performing institutions to raise their fees in line with inflation.

The proposals will also make it easier for new institutions, including for-profits, to gain a university title – a label that can significantly boost applications from overseas students and that currently takes decades to achieve.

Malia Bouattia, president of the National Union of Students, said the plans would damage quality and leave students in even more debt. “The government is running at pace with a deeply risky ideologically led market experiment in further and higher education, and students and lecturers, who will suffer most as a result, are clear that this can’t be allowed to happen,” she said.

“This week, before the bill has even been properly debated in parliament – let alone passed – universities are already advertising fees above £9,000.”

University staff are joining the march, with Sally Hunt, general secretary of the Universities and College Union, using the demonstration to demand the government offers reassurance to EU staff and students. She is expected to call on Theresa May to “show some humanity, do the decent thing and stop using EU staff and students as pawns in Brexit negotiations”.

Hunt will also warn of the growing problem of casual contracts within universities, following Guardian reports that university teaching is dominated by zero-hours contracts and other forms of precarious work.

She will say: “Staff pay has been held down in recent years, while the gender pay gap has risen and universities have introduced more of the sort of contracts you would associate with Sports Direct. All the while those at the top have continued to enjoy inflation-busting pay rises.”

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