Dundee’s constituency MSPs Joe FitzPatrick and Shona Robison joined Dundee University students at the campus to sign their campaign petition calling for Education to remain free with no tuition fees.
The students are campaigning on the day that tuition fees are to be debated in the Scottish Parliament as a reminder that while in Scotland there are no tuition fees, the trebling of tuition fees in England to more than £9000 per annum has contributed to a 6.3% decrease in acceptances at English institutions (lowest level since 2008) and a 13% decrease in the number of students actually undertaking studies in 2012/13.
Siobhan Silburn, President of Dundee University Scottish Nationalist Association said: “The motion to be debated commits the parliament to no upfront or backdoor tuition fees – exactly the policy that Labour included in their manifesto.
“Many Labour MSPs signed up to NUS Scotland’s ‘reclaim your voice’ campaign during the election which committed them to no tuition fees.
“We are pleased that Dundee’s SNP MSPs have committed to no upfront or backend tuition fees – unlike Labour which now seems to be questioning the value of free higher and further education.”
Lewis Ronaldson, Depute Convenor of DUSNA said: “The Labour amendment for today’s debate ‘notes that part-time and postgraduate university students have to pay fees’ but what is their policy?
“Are they going to extend support for post-graduate students? If so, why didn’t they do this when they were in power? How would they fund this and would they do this at the same time as they re-impose tuition fees on undergraduates?
“Labour’s website still talks about ‘no price tag on higher education’ – which was their election promise to protect students from tuition fees, but where do they stand now? Are they planning a new policy to re-introduce tuition fees?
“We’d like to know what their policy is. Tuition fees south of the border are making young people turn away from higher education and the number of acceptances to English Universities has decreased.”
Signing the student’s petition, Dundee East MSP Shona Robison said: “Scottish students are strongly in support of keeping education free.
“The Scottish Government believes that access to education should be based on the ability to learn not the ability to pay.”
Joe FitzPatrick, Dundee West MSP said: “At the election in 2011, the public strongly supported parties promising a no-tuition fees policy and every Labour MSP stood on that platform. It is time for Labour to either back that policy now or vote with the Tories in favour of re-introducing tuition fees – and break their pledge to Scotland’s students.”