Thursday 15-10-2015 - 11:46
The student movement in Northern Ireland is collectively telling MLAs that increased investment in students and our tertiary education system should be a priority for them and the Northern Ireland Executive. NUS-USI spoke at the Assembly’s Employment and Learning Committee today, Queen’s University Students’ Union did so last week and Ulster University Students’ Union are doing so next week.
NUS-USI President, Fergal McFerran said, after meeting with the Employment and Learning Committee: “The student movement is collectively telling MLAs that there has never been a greater need for investment in higher and further education.
“MLAs cannot be in any doubt about the massive financial problems facing both students and education institutions. They simply cannot deny the need for significant additional investment in the education system here.
“I welcome the opportunity that the Employment and Learning Committee has provided to hear the views of student representatives by inviting us to meet with them.
“NUS-USI outlined to the Committee the need for a new model of funding tertiary education which moved away from debt and tuition fee. I outlined that increasing tuition fees could be disastrous for students as well as educational institutions. Increased fees could put so many people off studying a course, and this could prevent them from reaching their potential, could result in decreased enrolment, and could damage our economy as the skill needs of companies may not be able to be met.
“NUS-USI outlined to MLAs that increased investment in higher education is needed to deliver free education. Students must be given hope and opportunity. Government must address the cost of societal division here, or create an increased regional rate system based on household incomes. Important and innovative measures like these could deliver far more resources than would be needed to fund the scrapping of tuition fees.
“Student representatives are making their voice heard at the Assembly, we are owning our future. It is incumbent upon politicians to act and deliver increased government investment in higher education.”