Wednesday was the huge National Union of Students demonstration in central London. Fifty thousand staff and students took part in what is being called the largest student demonstration since the 1960s.
I joined a group of staff and students from the Royal College of Art protesting at both the cuts to its budget and the proposed increase of tuition fees to £9,000 a year.
We gathered with other art colleges at the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery. About 100 people from the RCA took part in the good-natured march down Whitehall. I left the march at 2pm as we came to Parliament Square. I went back to the RCA take part in our weekly 15 minutes of silence for meditation that I host with Aloka my Buddhist colleague. Whilst we had been sitting in silence a small number of demonstrators had a attacked the Conservative party HQ at Millbank
The violence attack was unacceptable and came close to tragedy. A man has now been arrested for throwing a fire extinguisher from the roof onto the police and crowd.
I strongly suspect that the increased fees will prevent Higher Education being a route out of poverty. Also the cuts and the Browne Report will further commercialize education. Education will be assessed solely against the criteria of being ‘useful’ for jobs and the economy. The market will be left determine the nature of education. More to come on this…