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#Nov19 is vital for college students

Wednesday 16-11-2016 - 14:47

It’s the week of the United for Education national demonstration, where Canterbury College Students’ Union will be out in force. Here they tell us why Saturday’s demo is so important for further education and college students.

Having attended previous national demos in 2010 and 2012, we can safely say that a show of solidarity across further and higher education is needed now more than ever.

Area reviews represent an unprecedented shake up of the FE system. We’ve already seen cuts to EMA and the adult skills budget, colleges being closed and students dropping out.

Our students are feeling the pinch of travel and living costs and our staff are facing the constant threat of job losses. Further education is a lifeline for millions of students, but the government is pulling the plug.

Add to this the intolerant political climate, highlighted by the sharp rise in hate crime following Brexit and Trump, which is a very real danger to many of our students. Post-16 education relies on migration, yet is being specifically targeted by a government obsessed with arbitrary and punitive targets. Saturday is our chance to show solidarity with international students and staff.

Our students put paid to the lie that young people are apathetic about politics; they care deeply about the issues facing the country and the world. The challenge is finding constructive ways for them to engage with a political process that so often fails to represent them – and we see this demo as the perfect opportunity.

It will allow our students to see the energy of the student movement, and the determination that exists to stand up for the values that unite us. Memories of the demo will stay with students for years, inspiring many other types of continued activism.

The commitment to the cause shown by FE colleges has been extraordinary. From our campus we have seen our energetic and tenacious reps rallying support at Freshers Fairs and every other opportunity. We have coordinated with Christ Church University, who have kindly offered space on their coaches to London, and we are offering to refund travel for students who make their own way down.

College students have a huge range of outside responsibilities to consider; for example our president Jess Foster has taken time off work to attend. It is an inspiration to know that thousands of young people around the country are doing the same – giving up their time, effort and money to make this demo a success.

So join us in London on Saturday #Nov19, and show the government that we are United for Education.

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