Occupy Our Higher Education

On March 14, UK students staged a walkout:

Students are taking part in a national walkout at campuses across the UK today as part of a “week of action” calling on the government and universities to “come clean” on their plans for higher education.

The walkout – which is set for noon on 14 March – is being accompanied by marches, rallies, discussions, petition signings and other campaign actions, the National Union of Students has said.

Events taking place include a “teach-in” at King’s College London and a rally involving students from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University.

Liam Burns, president of the NUS, said students wanted to demonstrate their anger at ministers who have not made clear their plans for increased marketisation of higher education.

They were also angry that universities had been pushed towards providing tuition fee waivers rather than upfront bursaries to help students.

“We need a national debate on changes to higher education, and this week we will remind ministers that we are watching what they’re doing,” he said.

Prior to the walkout and march, Occupy London’s Tent City University held a “teach out.” Speaker David Graeber, a professor of social anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, said, “The attack on education is an attack on imagination, part of capitalist agenda to prevent us thinking of alternatives.”

The Guardian provides a fascinating description of the Tent City University, where “a host of leading university academics have offered talks on subjects as varied as international banking, philosophy, theology, the Arab spring and central Africa’s (very egalitarian) pygmy hunter-gatherers.” It has continued in spite of the eviction of Occupy London on February 28.

(Image by MattieTK)

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