Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Students protesting against system brought in by SDLP

19 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Education spokesperson, Paul Butler has backed third level students protesting outside the Assembly today demanding the scrapping of Student Fees and the re-introduction of the maintenance grant.

Mr Butler said:

"The evidence shows that the introduction of Students Fees has had a significant impact on students studying in our universities, on rising levels of student debt and on the falling numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds taking third level studies.

"The withdrawal of the maintenance grant was a mistake that has also had a negative impact on our students, particularly with more and more students working during their studies and on the high levels of students dropping out of college.

"Sadly there was an opportunity to deal with this whole issue in a more progressive way when we previously had an SDLP Employment and Learning Minister that was wasted.

"If we look elsewhere we see that it is possible to make a financial commitment to people in third level education. In Scotland they properly support their students. There are greater supports for students in the south. Yet here in the north where there is both a social demand and an economic requirement to support our students there is little commitment from either the current UUP Minister or indeed his SDLP predecessor." ENDS

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