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National - Event Notice
Thursday January 01 1970

FEE block on the USI demo

category national | education | event notice author Thursday November 10, 2011 10:58author by FEE - Free education for everyone Report this post to the editors

Join the USI march & occupation of Molesworth street, Dublin 2

The USI have planned to march on the Dail in opposition to possible hikes in third level fee's. The campaign group Free Education for Everyone (FEE) believes that the USI should go further however & calls for the immediate retraction of increases in the reg fee & cuts to the non-adjacent grant. Education is a right not a privilege
FEE leaflet - print and dis
FEE leaflet - print and dis

The USI have planned to march on the Dail in opposition to possible hikes in third level fee's. The campaign group Free Education for Everyone (FEE) believes that the USI should go further however & calls for the immediate retraction of increases in the reg fee & cuts to the non-adjacent grant. The USI have made clear their plans to occupy Molesworth Street in order to put more pressure on the government through radical meassures. This is to welcomed, however for the action to be successful students must publicise the event and attend in huge numbers. Only through mass mobalization and direct action will the government be forced to take note of students demands. Assemble at the Ambassador theatre, Parnell Street at 12pm

Related Link: http://free-education.info/
author by fee to edpublication date Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please change block to bloc. Apologies!

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Thu Nov 10, 2011 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the platform is for free education for all, then I don't think it is one that I will be supporting. Those who can afford to pay to go to third-level education, should have to pay for the privilege. Our Universities have become more and more semi-privatised education production lines. Fees should not have been abolished. We cannot and could never afford to subsidise the wealthy to attend college. Those who can't afford it, should be helped. To say that education should be free to all is hopelessly naive and just serves to maintain the status quo and exclude working-class people form colleges. Going to college is not easy nor should it be, however, there are many who can afford to pay for it. Common sense should prevail.

author by leftypublication date Fri Nov 11, 2011 21:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Currently the poor subsidise the rich attending college.
In practice figures show that free fees and the grant scheme have not significantly helped change the imbalance of people attending college from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups vs the wealthy sectors who continue to benefit from free fees.  There are other issues here as well it seems. Maybe to do with social culture, hidden registration costs (stealth fees currently 2k+) and possibly the actual application procedures.

But money is still also an issue.  It seems to me that a compromise is in order here.

There should be a base level under which you pay no fees then above that, a graduated scale and a cutoff point whereby the state no longer  subsidises you either through fees or grants.

Thereby, helping poorer people to attend, whilst not subsidising the rich.  Same principle should apply regarding childrens allowance.

author by Gpublication date Sun Nov 13, 2011 14:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the 'free fees' initiative should be abolished because the 'poor subsidise the rich', isn't the logical extension that free primary & secondary education should also be abolished on the same basis?

College fees exist. At €2,000, they're the second highest  in the EU.

They're not there for equity reasons -  as fees have been increased in recent budgets, the maintenance grant has been cut. It's naive to believe that increasing fees will provide additional funding for third level institutions, or student support schemes. They will be (and currently are) used to reduce public funding. Increases in fees have already coincided with reductions to the core block grant.

Unwittingly, those that support fees on equity grounds are supporting the extension of the neoliberal model which fuels inequality - a model which despises public services, and seeks to reduce public funding by shifting the costs burden onto to individual, in order to maintain low taxes on wealth & profits. This is the same underlying process affecting water charges, the health service & other public services. The application of these neoliberal principles to tertiary education is not the answer to improving equality of access. It's this economic model itself which needs to be opposed.

The reason the 'free fees' initiative has had limited success is because the barriers to education don't suddenly arise on the day a student receives their CAO results, they arise through the cumulative effects of inequality in a multitude of areas from the moment they're born. The child of a 'professional' can expect to get about 92 points more Leaving Certificate points than the child of a 'manual worker'. Attempts to address this at third level are always going to have a limited effect.

Educational disadvantage doesn't exist in a bubble - class still matters. It's only by addressing inequality, both inside and outside of education, that equality of access can be genuinely improved. 

One of the primary methods for achieving this - within capitalism - is through progressive tax reform. The additional public funding gained through taxation could be used to target educational disadvantage at all levels, through funding areas like pre-school education, special needs assistants, retention initiatives, reducing pupil-teacher-ratios, maintenance grants which reflect the cost of living, and the Back to Education Allowance. Additional public funding, based on taxation of those who can afford it, can be used to reduce inequality in areas outside the education sector.

As for the argument that 'we can't afford it' - most companies either don't pay pay corporation tax, or pay an effective rate of between 4-7%, according tho the head of Trinitys School of Business [1]. Companies like Google uses tax avoidance schemes such as 'double Irish' to only pay €5.6 million in corporation tax on a turnover of €10 billion. [2] Taxes on wealth/capital, like CGT & CAT, also remain low.

The other typical argument is that higher taxes would 'damage competitiveness' . Higher tax economies, such as Sweden & Denmark, outperform Ireland in competitiveness rankings, according to the right-wing World Economic Forum. Part of the reason for this is that they use taxation to invest in areas like education, health, & infrastructure.

Shifting the cost burden onto students is not an economic necessity, it's a policy choice.

[1]http://www.tcd.ie/iiis/documents/discussion/abstracts/I...5.php , and another good article on corporation tax can be found at http://www.progressive-economy.ie/2011/04/125-per-cent-....html
[2]http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/google-paid-on....html

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Related Link: http://free-education.info
 
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