Following publication of the Dearing report and the government's response and proposals from it, you may have been led to believe that the NUS has done nothing but criticise the report in its entirety. This is not true.
The NUS welcomes Sir Ron's proposal that there should be a student on the board of the Quality Assurance Agency as soon as possible. It also welcomes the recommendation for a Learning and Teaching Institute. The NUS welcomes the many positive recommendations from the report and it is important that these are not lost.
However, with relation to fees, the position of the NUS could not be clearer. It is vehemently opposed to fees. We cannot accept that students should have to pay for tuition. The NUS argues that a "new partnership should be formed" between students, government and business to fund a high-quality education system. We accept that new sources of funding need to be found and that current arrangements for higher education have left the sector in crisis.
The NUS believes that increased access and participation in higher education is essential to the economy and the culture of the United Kingdom. Surely the main principle of higher education should be access and participation.
It is imperative that fees are not introduced. A new alliance must be formed. As a president of a students' union representing the interests of nearly 17,000 and the interests of all future students at this university, I urge the government to scrap the introduction of fees for 1998. It must take this opportunity to review the principle and practice of tuition fees by working towards a sensible funding policy that ensures participation, access and quality for all. Tuition fees will do nothing but harm all three.
president, University of Glamorgan Union