By: Jordan Smith
Jordan is currently a second year International Relation student at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the Co-President of Queen Mary Young Greens and the former leader and founder of Swindon Young Greens.
The Green Party is the only party that has been consistently committed to a radical and progressive overhaul of many government policies, especially in regards to education, the economy and immigration. Over the past 20 years, UK schools have increasingly focused on teaching students how to pass exams rather than giving them the vital knowledge, skills and experience they need for a healthy and fulfilling adult life. This must change and a vote for the Green Party on 8 June will be a vote to remodel the British educational system. We want to emphasise the importance of an education which helps young people develop healthy relationships through the use of emotional literacy, social skills and sexual education programmes which will help reduce mental health conditions in students who, under the pressures placed on them by exam factory-styled educational institutions, suffer increasingly from issues including depression and anxiety. The Green Party will also aim to reduce class sizes in primary and secondary schools which will enable more teachers to focus on individual students to give them the advice and support that is needed which will also help build a healthy rapport between teacher and pupil.
Additionally, the Green Party believes that young people must be encouraged to continue with their studies into Higher Education. For us, this means making it accessible and desirable to young people from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. This is why we are the only party that you can trust to abolish university tuition fees in order to make higher education a valued part of society, rather than turning universities into money making machines for private companies who buy up the large sum of student debts in order to make more profit. Both the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have continuously let students down: don’t let them disappoint you again.
Fundamentally, the Green Party’s vision for our future as a society, begins with our education system. Through a radical reform of our system, we can once again make education something that is valued for its intrinsic empowering characteristic and not something which is valued in terms of how much profit can be made from the current system. Encouraging greater political participation, sustainable lifestyles, respect for human rights (especially those of refugees, migrants and liberation groups) and healthy relationships across society can only be achieved through a re-evaluation of our entire education system.
Finally, the Green Party agrees with the SNP and Plaid Cymru that immigration is something which we must celebrate because of its benefits to our country. These benefits bring economic growth, support our NHS and bring cultural diversity which brings about a greater understanding of the international community which is essential to building a more peaceful and prosperous world. We demand that EU nationals living in the UK have the right to remain in the UK after Brexit and we are absolutely committed to keeping the freedom of movement which gives so many young people the opportunities to work, study and live across 27 of our European neighbours. It has always been the Green Party who challenges the increasingly xenophobic and racist rhetoric of mainstream parties who constantly use the politics of fear to play on genuine people’s concerns about immigration for short-term political gain. Migrants, refugees and international students are not pawns to be used in this way. We simply say no. We refuse to accept this dangerous political discourse which does little to tackle fundamental issues facing our society and instead, raises community tensions which we have seen with the concerning rise in xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attacks across the UK since last June. It is not refugees and migrants who are burdening the NHS or other vital social services, but it is the 7 years of unrelenting Conservative austerity which continues to undermine our glorious welfare state.
Therefore, the Green Party is here for you. Regardless of your socio-economic or ethnic background, we are fully committed to a well-rounded, healthy and accessible education system which allows students to develop a wider array of skills, rather than simply passing exams. Tuition fees and student debt is a further commodification of one of society’s most important foundations. Our vision for a new education system will build a world which is more sustainable, tolerant and peaceful. So please, if you’re a student from the UK, Ireland or a commonwealth nation, vote Green on 8 June because now is the time to fight for a progressive Britain.