NUS Scotland has organised a demonstration through Edinburgh on 22 March, calling on the Scottish Parliament to invest in education.
The demonstration, part of the ‘Reclaim Your Voice’ campaign, is aimed at securing Scotland’s tuition fee free education, protecting the number of graduate and college places available, and improving student support for the poorest students.
It is planned to coincide with the last working day of the Scottish Parliament and follows recent calls to introduce tuition fees in Scotland, including a leaked report from Universities Scotland and a submission to parliament by lobby group CBI.
Liam Burns, president of NUS Scotland, said: “We’ve seen how students have been let down and betrayed in the rest of the UK. Millions of people invested their trust and their votes only to see their trust entirely undermined.
“The Scottish Parliament elections are a chance for students to reclaim their voice and to ensure candidates, hoping to get elected, listen. However, it’s also a chance for the Scottish Parliament to reclaim its voice, and to choose a different way to the astronomical tuition fees and spending cuts we’ve seen in the rest of the UK.”
Students from across Scotland are expected to attend the demonstration. Several students’ associations, including Aberdeen and Strathclyde, have booked transport to enable students to travel to the event. Paper petitions have also been circulated.
A spokesperson for NUS Scotland told The Journal: “MSPs may claim they will not introduce fees only to change their mind when elected. The aim of the demonstration is to ensure MSPs hold their feet to the fire once the elections are over with.”
NUS Scotland said they were not concerned about the levels of violence seen at demonstrations south of the border. The spokesperson continued: “Our concern is the safety of those students who wish to demonstrate. We are doing a lot of work with the council to ensure this safety.”
Four days later, on 26 March, the Trades Union Congress will be holding a national demonstration in London against further cuts, which is set to be one of the biggest demonstrations seen so far.
Edinburgh’s protest will begin at 1pm at Johnston Place on the Royal Mile. From there, students will march down to the Scottish Parliament to hold a rally.