Students press for reforms

September 22, 1995

More than 100 student union officers have formed a pressure group to lobby the National Union of Students for a "more realistic" policy on education funding.

The group, New Solutions, hopes to pave the way for a major policy change at the union's annual conference next March.

A special NUS conference in Derby in May this year turned down attempts to overturn the union's traditional commitment to the restoration of grants at their 1979 level, and the reintroduction of benefits, by 55 per cent of votes to 45 per cent. The vote was seen as a personal blow to NUS president Jim Murphy.

Ghassan Karian, coordinator of New Solutions and president of the University of London Union, said: "The debate on education funding did not end at Derby; it began there. Many student officers across the country see no reason to stop campaigning against a policy which has never led to equal access for all, has never alleviated student hardship, has not stopped the grant cuts, and has ultimately prevented the student movement from having a credible voice among education decision-makers."

The group will issue a consultative document in mid-October, a draft document in early December, and a final set of proposals in the new year. The group will also be holding regional debates.

The initiative has so far attracted the active support of 130 student union sabbatical officers, and Mr Karian expects the number to grow. The pressure group argues that it would cost the taxpayer just under Pounds 11 billion to pay for the NUS "wish list".

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