Students Union to ‘sabotage’ government fee rise plans

By Josh Cawood


Sheffield Students Union is preparing to fight back against proposed increases to tuition fees.

Following the publication of the Government’s proposals yesterday, the Students Union have revealed early plans to sabotage the National Survey of Students (NSS) and prevent their students’ stats being used by the government.

The NNS, which measures student satisfaction, forms part of the proposed Teaching Excellence framework which will be used to measure teaching quality across universities and therefore potentially justify higher tuition fees in cases of higher-quality education.

Minesh Parekh, 22, the Students Union’s education officer, said: “It quite evidently didn’t work last time tuition fees were increased; there was no increase in educational quality because education doesn’t work that way, there is no link between increasing fees and increasing what someone can learn.”

Alongside the NSS, the Teaching Excellence framework will also be formed by Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey, which measures graduate outcomes.

Whilst the SU does not agree with most parts of the white papers published yesterday, they are especially opposed to this Teaching Excellence framework and the potential increase in tuition fees these rankings may lead to.

Gabi Binnie, 24, the Sheffield Student Union’s welfare officer, said: “The SU will campaign on any increase in tuition fees because we think they are bad for students, they are bad for education and they lead to the marketisation of education.”

Jo Johnson, the Universities minister, announced yesterday that as of autumn 2017 universities that offer higher levels of education could increase their tuition fees in line with inflation, as well as see their tuition fees cut until they improve the quality of learning.

Serena Fernandes, 20, a student studying law with Spanish law at the University of Sheffield, said: “I do not think it will make that much of a difference to teaching. I think it is just an excuse to get more money out of students.”

Other changes outlined in the proposal included making it easier to open new universities and making it easier for students to switch universities or courses.


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