Portsmouth Uni Students To Walk Out

Students will launch a national day of action today in protest at the Government's higher education plans, including walkouts at university campuses across the country.

The National Union of Students (NUS) said lectures will be boycotted as students join rallies, marches, petition signings and other events.

Action will be held at a number of campuses, including at the University of Portsmouth. Up to 200 students in the city are planning to walk out of their lectures and seminars. From September, fees at the uni are going up to £8,500 - elsewhere they're as high as £9,000.

A march is planned from the student union in Cambridge Road to Guildhall Square.

The NUS said students will be demonstrating their anger at ministers who have not made clear their plans for increased 'marketisation' of higher education and the 'hidden costs' of university education such as books, trips and other essential equipment like lab coats.

NUS president Liam Burns said: "We need a national debate on changes to higher education and this week we will remind ministers that we are watching what they're doing.

"When the Government quietly dropped plans for a higher education Bill earlier this year they didn't drop their plans. They simply removed the opportunity for the kind of scrutiny that has been afforded to changes to the NHS.

"Students, parents, lecturers and anyone with a stake in education wants to know what the Government and our institutions have in store for higher education and demand that they come clean."

The walkout comes in a week of action designed to show that high tuition fees, hidden course costs and a lack of bursaries are pricing students out of education.

The NUS said it wants universities to explain the true the cost of being a student, and for the Government to spell out the future of the education system.