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Issue #1593      May 15, 2013

High school students set to join strike against education cuts

Hundreds of high school students are expected to skip class to join the National Union of Students (NUS) strike and protest outside the State Library in the Melbourne CBD from 2pm on May 14 - budget day.

Along with university students the high school students will be protesting the government’s plans to cut $2.8 billion from higher education. Future university students will be directly affected by this latest round of cuts with increased class sizes and more expensive degrees.

The Labor government has tried to justify the cuts by claiming the savings at the university level will pay for the Gonski reforms to school education. The Gonski reforms are themselves designed to lock in a line of funding for private schools at the expense of the public system.

Socialist Party student organiser Kirk Leonard said “Students are coming out to say that we are opposed to robbing Peter to pay Paul. We need to adequately fund all levels of public education and say no to any steps towards privatisation.

“High school students have been the most enthusiastic about skipping class on budget day. They want to send a message to both Gillard and Abbott. They want the chance at a decent education and a future. They are prepared to fight for it,” Kirk said.

Socialist Party student organiser Kat Galea said “High school students are looking at a situation where they will end up with a huge debt in return for a sub-standard education. They are not prepared to accept that.

“Far from being apathetic we are beginning to see young people take an active interest in their future.

“We are demanding that instead of cutting education we need to tax big business. If the big miners, the banks and the casinos had their super-profits taxed at a higher rate there would be more than enough money available to fund free, quality public education for all.” Kat said.   

Next article – UN warns Great Barrier Reef under threat

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