The 2009 NUS conference has been making good progress so far, reaching the motion to discuss higher education funding already. Previous non-contentious motions were all passed in short order.
At the time of writing Conference has decided against campaigning for free education, with the first amendment to the funding motion defeated.
Described by a number of delegates on twitter as 'the trot motion', the amendment called for the NUS slogan to be "Free education and university grants for all". This has previously been "universal grants for all", so Live! suspects this was a typo.
NUS President Wes Streeting campaigned against it, calling for a realistic approach to education funding. With the customary heckling, Streeting delivered the line "Look around, because if you think free education is possible in this economic climate, you should have gone to SpecSavers".
Regardless of the remaining amendments, the NUS will take no stance on a particular funding model at conference. However, the motion currently under discussion calls for the NUS to:
- Lobby the government to provide ?World Class Funding? for higher education by increasing the amount it spends on higher education by 0.2% of GDP, in order to meet the OECD average figure of 1.1% of GDP.
- Raise awarenesss within the government and public at large realities of student poverty.
- lobby the government to provide increased education funding as more people who are unable to find jobs go into or return to education.
Other amendments to be discussed before the motion itself is debated include one to provide support for London Met, which recently had to repay government money after over-declaring its student numbers.