8. Restore public education funding, with fair tax, not forced fees, and equality and respect in further education

The problems

The universal human right to education, and in particular free higher education accessible “on the basis of merit”, has a proud history in the UK, but has been vanishing today. With the removal of grants, the £9250 forced fees for home students in England, and unlimited international student fees, a generation of workers is loaded with debt before they start. This failed model, exported from private school boys in politics to universities, increases anxiety, disrupts study, and creates clear incentives for discrimination to favour high fee-payers. It makes no economic sense when 47% of student debt is projected to not be repaid anyway. Awash with other people’s money, university managers act like countries with a resource curse, augmenting their power, and hoarding capital for vanity building projects. They are completely divorced from the public and student interest, let alone academic ideals of the Enlightenment. In further education, starved of proper funding, wages have fallen off a cliff just like in universities.

The solutions

If you support our platform, we will restore public education funding, because we know the evidence is on our side, for education to run on fair tax, not forced fees. We will be part of building a National Education Service, free at the point of use, and with fair pay, that guarantees the universal right to education throughout our lives. We will do this in the UK, and we will begin replacing the failed “global market in higher education” with global merit, by pushing for an international treaty that enables free movement and social rights across democratic states. Education is at the core of rebuilding our public services, just as much as in the NHS, rail, mail, energy, water, communications and media. Education is at the core of a 21st century system of universal public services that are the right of every human being, and a duty we owe to one another, to build a just society. If you believe in our democracy, if you believe in our society, then you believe in justice, and we invite you to join our campaign for a better world.

How we do it

We get restoration of public education funding by:

  • having absolute moral clarity, and showing the economic evidence that the forced-fee system has failed,
  • lobbying government to replace forced-fees with a new settlement for the future of education.

More reading on the right to free education, and education governance:

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 article 13
  • E McGaughey, Principles of Enterprise Law: the Economic Constitution and Human Rights (Cambridge UP 2022) ch 8 (education)