Bankstown students fight education cuts

October 11, 2013
Student protest against course cuts
Student protest against course cuts, University of Western Sydney Bankstown campus.

A student general meeting was held at the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney on October 8, as part of the student campaign against the federal government’s $2.7 billion funding cuts to universities across Australia.

About 40 students and staff attended, with many speaking out about the impact the cuts will have on their education.

During the past three weeks, more than 1000 students signed a petition demanding that the university commit to make no more cuts to courses, and not increase class sizes or student-to-staff ratios. It also demanded management immediately sign a fair agreement with staff and their union.

The petitions were handed to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on the day. NTEU President Jan Falloon was thrilled and said that students’ activism over their education would help staff win the enterprise bargaining campaign. A motion supporting the NTEU in its campaign was passed unanimously, as was another motion to continue the campaign against cuts.

This speech was given to the student general meeting by UWS student Rabea Hashemi.

* * *

We are here today simply because we do not want any more cuts to our education. We have already lost 40 units last year due to administration cuts and had many students stress over their major.

We have the same people, who had the luxury of having free education in their day, make us pay for our education. With $2.7 billion in cuts to tertiary education, students are going to face some rough times. We will have to attend bigger classes, tutors will face more casualisation and students will be pressured to pay HECS upfront.

More than 50% of students who attend university are from low socio-economic backgrounds, and this will just add to their stress and force them to drop out of university.

This is a very big issue and we must all speak out and stop these cuts. We need free education and we need to support our teachers. Our demands are simple, no more cuts to our education, for with better education we can have a better economy, and a better economy means more secure jobs, freedom of choice and a better society.

I ask all the students to come and talk to us, the UWS education action group, about your concerns, your story, and join us by signing the petition to help stop the cuts to our education.

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