University of British Columbia, Canada
Around 800 students rallied together on the parliament lawn in Victoria, Canada to protest against the rising student debt, specifically the increases to students’ tuition charges.
The group of students was made up of representatives from student societies from across British Columbia, the majority coming from institutions such as Camosun College, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria.
The protest was seen as necessary due to the high level of debt that many Canadian students find themselves in. The average British Columbian student faces a debt of $27,000 for a four-year degree.
Many students were outraged by the comment made by the Minister of Advanced Education, Naomi Yamamoto, who claimed that students could afford the increase in fees if they bought one less cup of coffee per week.
In an attempt to help solve this crisis, various student groups will be coming together to lobby the government for reforms in coming months.
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame in America is seeing a surge in students applying to study the Irish language and Irish cultural affairs.
Notre Dame professor, Brian O’Conchubhair, who is an associate professor of Irish in the Department of Irish Language and Literature in the college spoke about how Notre Dame students have been at the centre of this revival: “Irish was being taught here as a subject in the 1860s and 1870s, before it was taught in the Irish universities.”
This spring, there are 24 courses being offered from a wide range of subjects; fifteen of which can be applied to a minor in Irish Language and Literature.
O’Conchubhair is hopeful that the language will continue to survive and be spoken. In order for this standard to be attained, the college is also offering internship and study abroad programmes at universities in Dublin
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is planning to go ahead with massive cuts to the financial aid offered to students amid mounting pressure from academics.
Under the current system, students from disadvantaged areas are offered a grant of up to £3,400 to help them fund their studies at the college. This amount is linked to the current level of tuition fees that UK students must pay.
Despite the fact that the fees for Cambridge are expected to rise as high as £9,000 in 2012, a University Working Group has put forward a plan to lower the grant level to £1,625.
In order for the university to go ahead with its proposals, a vote from all of the current academics must be held. The Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) proposed an amendment to the vote to ensure that the maintenance grant levels remain the same.
The university dismissed this amendment on the basis that the vote is concerned with fees and not grants. In response to this “administrative fudge”, the CUSU organised a large-scale demonstration outside Great St Mary’s Church in King’s Parade, Cambridge.
– Matthew Jones