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To: Minister Simon Harris and Minister Diane Dodds

All-Ireland Campaign for Free Education

Students are overburdened with major costs which pose barriers to higher education. This campaign is calling for a publicly funded higher education system across the island, and for those working on placement or in education to be properly paid for their work. This campaign also calls for reverses to cuts on campuses and changes to student grants, to ensure that education is truly accessible for all regardless of income or background.

Why is this important?

Higher education in Ireland has been turned into a money racket by years of neoliberal government policy and negligence in Higher Education Institutions.

While fees for students in the north and south of Ireland have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, the quality of education has been diminished. Most teaching staff are under-paid and overworked, and are given precarious employment contracts that offer little in the way of workers' rights and job security.

Students are forced to work part-time or full-time during college to pay fees and rent, which has huge impacts on their academic performance and their health.

Funding for essential services like student health and counselling have been cut, with further cuts planned in anticipation of the economic downturn.

The fees paid by students are not being invested in education or support for students; they are instead being used to give salary increases and bonuses to the upper management of our colleges and universities.

These issues existed before the pandemic, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated many of the issues we face in higher education. Students are shouldering a large portion of the burden of COVID-19. We have lost jobs, lost family members, worked on the front lines and are still being financially exploited by the higher education system. Student nurses and midwives in particular have played a vital role in the fight against COVID-19, but the state refuses to pay them for their work. On top of that, these essential workers are still forced to pay thousands in college tuition fees.

It's clear that neither the government nor the upper management in our colleges care about education - they only care about our money.

It's time for students to fight back against exploitation and neoliberalism in higher education in Ireland, and demand that student fees be abolished entirely. Higher education should be publicly funded, and those working in education should be properly paid for their work.

The Campaigns demands are:
- A public higher education system funded from general taxation
- Abolish the student contribution, registration fees, and other fees paid directly by students.
- Pay student nurses, midwives, and other students such as social workers for their work on placement.
- Pay postgraduate teachers a living wage
- Reverse the outsourcing of university staff, offer permanent contracts
- Hire more admin and teaching staff to alleviate the workload in universities and ITs
- Reverse cuts to student services
- Increase the income threshold for the SUSI grant, and increase the grant allowance for SUSI
- Cap rents for student accommodation and introduce a differential rent based on income


2020-12-14 08:51:21 +0000

100 signatures reached

2020-12-04 13:55:31 +0000

50 signatures reached

2020-12-03 17:34:24 +0000

25 signatures reached

2020-12-03 17:14:32 +0000

10 signatures reached