NUS National Conference 2013 – Education Zone motions (200+300)

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Below is a summary of the motions being sent to Conference for the Education Zone of NUS, which pertain to issues/actions to be taken in the Further Education (200) and Higher Education (300) sectors.
Also includes motion 101 because it doesn’t fit elsewhere.

For any questions/clarification on voting intentions or NUS or Conference procedure please comment below or email me at axs278@bham.ac.uk

For an intro/recap on Conference in general + all the motions click here.

-Azfar

Motion #
(Final)
Motion title Summary of motion Intentions
101 A vision for the future of education (Beliefs  statement)
Commits NUS to promoting and acting towards, and on behalf of, a unified vision of education – as a public good, of local benefit, useful for labour market development, critical for social mobility, to be publicly funded etc.
For
     
201 Further Education in the Tertiary sector Getting FE support, financing and provisions more on par with those for HE. Campaign against attacks on vocational education, call for public investment funding into FE. For
202 Barriers to Education Campaign against any introductions of fees/loans system into FE, make FE more inclusive of adult learners (especially with regards to age-restricted access to funding etc.), increase services for independent advice/guidance for FE students. For
203 Employment Improving apprenticeship quality – pay level, transparency of offers etc.
Increase focus on work experience for building relevant vocational skills, rather than being tokenistic.
For
203a
(fka 40M)
+ Amendment Lobby for revision of statutory guidance on minimum quality standards for careers guidance;
lobby for National Careers Service’s remit to be expanded to include a capacity-building and brokerage role for schools.
For
204  Qualifications & Assessment Reform Oppose government’s reforms on A Level assessment (e.g. removing modular approach for final assessments);
oppose any government practice that marginalises vocational/alternative qualifications in favour of traditional courses.
Develop a centralised guidance/admissions systems inclusive of education paths between FE and HE.
For
211 International/Private Oppose restrictions upon and exploitation of International FE learners;
bring private colleges into public sector.
For
212 FE students too old at 21 Recognise FE students as being ‘mature’ at 19 instead of 21, as this is when they are affected by changes in funding structures and may be in need of support;work with institutes to get more adequate support for 19+ FE students. For
   
301 The public value of education Access agreements outlining University’s access commitments to be developed openly, organically, and ongoing with SU input.
Actively reinforce local value of HEIs, support principle of education as universal public good whilst avoiding framing it in terms of private or economic value, only.
For 
301a – Amendment Explicitly push angle of HE as being of economic value in order to win over public sympathy for HE funding. Against
Buys too willingly into narrative of HE as being a commodity, quantifiable.
Reinforces the profit/private-oriented discourse that is proving destructive nowadays to the UK HE system.
The economic value of HE can be made clear in its own ways, but this should not be used as the guiding principle or argument of NUS.
301b + Amendment Expound public good of HE by promoting local links and activism between institution and other bodies.
Change public perception of HE to be more sympathetic through action, rather than pander to their preconceptions of it.
For
301c + Amendment Promote and support FE as stand-alone and independent from HE (rather than just a stepping stone), and as something that provides localised good worth defending. For
302 Students are Partners Democratisation of HE through collaborative change and development between learners and institutions. This partnership to be facilitated by SUs. For
302a + Amendment Support student-led/partnered programs within HEIs, but condemn those that circumvent SU involvement and/or aim to undermine the role or effectiveness of SUs as representatives of student interests. For
302b + Amendment Take back governance of Universities from unrepresentative and unaccountable figures of management – ‘Take Back your Campus’ democratisation campaign to reintegrate students into University governance culture. For
303 Students thriving not surviving Widen the participation and support structures that work to ameliorate barriers within university/academic system; increase accessibility beyond point of access to education. For
304 Higher Education: Funding, Markets and a  Policy platform for 2013 Build towards 2015 General Election on a platform of promoting HE as a public good, accessible to all, with a long-term anti-cuts, anti-fee stance.
Medium-term proposal is to support graduate tax/contributions for HE until free education is secured.
Against
Doesn’t propose robust enough action in defence of free public education, NUS shouldn’t start negotiations with a compromised settlement of graduate contributions.
This is tactically and ideologically an unsound position for NUS to argue from.
304a – Amendment More staunchly in favour of universally free education, funded solely through public funding. For
Sets a better tone for NUS action.
304b + Amendment Campaigns and direct action against cuts, privatisation, for reinstatement of EMA For
304c + Amendment NUS to fundamentally change course – less reliant on electoral party support and more for robust independent action; run under slogans like ‘Tax the rich to fund education’, Expropriate the banks’ etc. and affirm NUS as an organisation fighting for student interests. For
311 Using NSS to build a partnership in Higher Education To better utilise National Student Survey (NSS) as a tool that can be used for benefit of HE sector rather than one that simply undermines it.
NUS to get involved in the consultation on reforms of the NSS and re-gear it in our favour.
Against
NSS should be fundamentally opposed as a tool of neoliberalisation that cannot be reconciled with NUS’ aims, visions or goals for HE.
It is also opposed by academic unions as a managerial tool used to narrowly quantify pedagogical practice, ignoring any deep or holistic assessment of academia.
311a -/+ Amendment NSS represents anti-academic and neoliberal instrument; should be boycotted and opposed on principle and replaced by something more qualitatively useful and meaningful. For
312 Xenophobic Immigration Policy Oppose government/UK Border Agency attacks on immigrants/international students, or the sponsor status of universities (e.g. London Metropolitan University last summer).
Actively support institutions where government/UKBA action threatens them.
For
312a + Amendment Lobby to reinstate Post Study Work visa route for International Students, to incentivise their continuing work within the UK after graduation. For
313 A fairer deal for Postgraduate students Stand in defence of Postgraduates’ rights to study based on ability, not ability to pay. Push for regulation/fee caps on PG courses, look into funding options for courses. For
314 Postgraduate Employment Better support for Postgraduates in Teaching through links between SUs and UCU (University and Colleges Union) branches, to ensure that they get representation and are not being exploited. For
315 We want good placements Accreditation system for placements to be developed, and employers to be scrutinised on placement quality. For
316 Timetabling Better timetabling of studies to become a prioritised issue for the sake of student welfare.
Push for timetables to be released 8 weeks in advance of term commencing to allow students to organize properly beforehand.
For
317 GPA and alternatives to the degree classification system Research into pros/cons and motivations for moving over from current degree classification system(1st, 2:1) into a Grade Point Average (GPA)system like that in the US.
If deemed a pursuit worthy of support, NUS should ensure that transition only occurs on a large-scale across the HE sector, not in any way could fragment it with differing system across institutions.
For
318 International Students Lobby for cap on International student fees, and regulate fees for consistency across student’s entire period of study (no hikes mid-course, as is a possibility for International students at present). For
319 Arts Education Protect and increase investment in Arts and Creative subjects, work on more appropriate system of application into Arts courses (not just one based on academic attainment, but inclusive of course-relevant abilities also). For
320 “I believe the Children are the Future!” Teach them well by ensuring teacher training continue to be taught in University Support trainee teachers in Universities and ensure provisions are made for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses to be taught in universities as the best way to develop strong and innovative pedagogical technique.
Work on improving Qualified Teacher Status (QTE) admissions process/tests.
For
320a + Amendment Campaign against PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education qualification)course closures. For
321 HE to the left of me FE to the right, HE in FE stuck in the middle confused Ensure that HE-in-FE students are better provided/represented for by SUs and NUS, as they currently occupy a grey area between remits and aren’t adequately provided for by either. For
322 Fund Graduate Entry Medicine Funding support/options to be created for graduate medical courses. For
323 Confirmation and Clearing Ensure institutions conduct processes of Confirmation and Clearing for courses in an ethical manner, not in a way that comes at a detriment to prospective applicants (for example, delaying responses while fishing for better qualified applicants). For
324 Knowledge Transfer Diploma Bring student research and local communities closer for mutual benefit; develop an award for student research that is directly and/or socially useful and pertinent. For
325 Circle of Life Gather data on student demographics pre-entry, upon dropout, and differentiate between different student groups (Part-time student, Students careers etc.) to develop a more detailed life-cycle database on students which can better inform policy and action. For
326 Marketisation Get McDonalds out of UK HE, out of NUS partnership.
Strip it of its qualifications awarding powers.
For
327 Student Representation in MOOCS Monitor development of MOOCS (Massively Open Online Courses) in HE, and investigate for scope and implementability of student representation structures/system within them. For
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  1. Pingback: NUS National Conference 2013 – Introduction | BEMA

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