Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

Europe

Students hit back as MPs vote to raise tuition fees

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-12-10

Britain's coalition government voted in favour of raising the cap on university tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year Thursday, triple the current limit, as police clashed with protesters in London.

Britain's parliament voted in favor of increasing fees paid by university students on Thursday, despite a fracture in the coalition government and another day of clashes between police and protesting youth in London.

Students and academics were again out in force on London’s streets Thursday. After the

Susan Nash, vice president of the National Union of Students, speaks to FRANCE 24

mass protests in November, youth from across the country converged on the capital to protest the government’s plans to drastically increase university tuition fees.

Confrontations between police and protesters led to chaotic scenes in Parliament square. Police said 22 people were arrested, while 38 protesters and 10 police were injured on Thursday. Demonstrations continued after the result of the vote was announced, with police attempting to clear Parliament square in the early evening.

A car carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla was attacked by protesters along Regent street. "We can confirm that Their Royal Highnesses' car was attacked by protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium this evening, but Their Royal Highnesses are unharmed," a spokesman for the prince said.

Protesters are unhappy with a rise in the cost of university schooling, today capped at £3,290 pounds per year (about €4,000). The reform approved by MPs seeks to raise the tuition limit to £9,000 pounds.

 
The project to nearly triple the cap on university fees has angered student organizations. The National Union of Students (NUS), Britain’s first student group, has called on youth to fight a reform they say will make their country’s universities "the most expensive in the world".
 
Thursday’s protest was the fifth in less than a month.
 
Events "less ideological than in France"
 
"These types of student protests are very unusual for Britain," said Sarah Pickard, a professor at Paris’ Sorbonne Nouvelle University and a specialist in British youth.
 
"The last major protests were against the Iraq war. But there was widespread participation and didn’t involve only students. For the last such demonstrations, including the occupation of university facilities, one must look back to the Thatcher years," she said.
 
While Pickard thinks that the English students are perhaps "a bit inspired" by their French counterparts, she said that the protests are "less ideological than in France,” where anti-capitalist ideas are often evoked.
 
"In Britain students are more pragmatic. They are simply asking to graduate before incurring too much debt," she added jokingly.
 
Nick Clegg’s betrayal
 
Britain’s House of Commons took the entire day to debate the controversial project before the crucial parliamentary vote. The lower house approved the plan by 21 votes, indicating that several members of the ruling coalition failed to back the reform. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition counts a majority of 84 when all MPs are present in the 650-seat house.
 
Before the coalition took form in May, Lib Dem candidates pledged not to touch the educational system during the election campaign. Since then, the Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has backpedaled and has firmly stood behind Cameron, urging party members to vote in favour of the plan.

"Many young people feel betrayed because many of them voted for Nick Clegg, who promised not to raise tuitions," said Pickard. She predicted that the student movement against the reform will continue despite the vote.

 

Date created : 2010-12-09

  • UK

    Police and protesters clash as parliament votes on school fees

    Read more

  • UK

    Budget cuts mark state's retreat from public life, media say

    Read more

  • UNITED KINGDOM

    British students take to streets in protest at fee hikes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)