NUS-USI, the union for over 200,000 students in Northern Ireland, has launched the Defend EMA campaign.
Defend EMA seeks to build a coalition of further and higher education students and supporters to ensure that the most disadvantaged continue to receive support to stay in education past the age of 16.
NUS-USI believes that the EMA is a sound investment of public funds, ensuring that those students who are at the highest risk of ending up in the dole queue have the opportunity to reach their potential by staying in education.
The EMA provides much-needed cash for those students from the most deprived backgrounds to enable them to stay in school or college beyond the age of 16. EMA pays for travel, for lunch and for books and materials. It enables those students to work fewer hours in part-time jobs, allowing them to focus on their studies.
It is crucial that students have their say as EMA comes under review in Northern Ireland during 2012. The Defend EMA campaign will ensure the student voice is heard through conducting independent research, keeping students and the public up to date on political developments and coordinating actions to ensure that Assembly members are made fully aware of the importance of EMA.
Adrianne Peltz, President of NUS-USI, said, ‘EMA ensures the most disadvantaged have an equal chance at education. I urge students, parents, the public and Assembly members to support the NUS-USI Defend EMA campaign.’
To be kept up to date with developments as the EMA review process goes forward register with the Defend EMA campaign.
November – December 2011: independent research phase
December 2011 – January 2012: expected government consultation into EMA
January 2012: NUS-USI recommendations published
February – August 2012: Direct lobbying of MLAs and student activism
September 2012: Expected executive vote on EMA