Students in national walkout over cuts


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The Independent Online

University students staged a national walkout today to protest against the Government's plans for higher education.

In London, hundreds of students boycotted lectures to march from the University of London Union to the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation.

The demonstration was part of the National Union of Students (NUS) Come Clean campaign, which aims to force the Government to make clear its plans for student funding and university reforms.

Many students are angry at what they believe is the privatisation of universities, combined with education cuts and rising tuition fees.

They chanted slogans including "education must be free" and "no ifs, no buts, no education cuts" as they marched across the capital.

Alix Roberts, 19, in her first year studying religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said: "I want an end to university cuts. It is all a bit of a joke.

"There have been so many cuts to funding within many university courses. My study options for next year have been limited."

Students from universities including University College London, the London School of Economics and King's College London took part in the demonstration which also included students from Oxford University.

Some students were not optimistic that their needs would be met. Abigail Williams, 24, who is studying for a master's degree in literature at University College London said: "We want to scrap tuition fees but now that they are going to go up it is not likely to happen.

"A lot of things that I am against are not going to happen but we have to hope there is a way to get things to change."

Several hundred students took part in the march but police officers said they had been expecting thousands of students to turn up.

Today's demonstration is the start of a week of action which will see students take part in marches, rallies, teach-ins, discussions, petition signings and other campaign actions.

Hannah Barlow, 22, president of the King's College London Student Union, who helped to organise events over the week, said: "We want to be part of a day of action asking the government to come clean on the future of higher education.

"We also want to ask our institutions to be more transparent on course costs. We want universities to be clear on exactly what they want students to pay."