The Student Christian Movement (SCM) are inviting students from across Britain to join the debate about education cuts and tuition fees at their annual conference next month. They will explore the relationship between faith, knowledge and wisdom at the event, entitled “With All Your Mind”.
SCM, which is Britain's oldest national student organisation, has spoken strongly against cuts to higher education. The organisation backed nonviolent direct action in 2010 when Parliament voted to treble tuition fees in England.
Last year's SCM conference recorded the highest turnout “for generations”. This year's event will take place at York St John University from 10 – 12 February.
Students from across the UK will gather to explore questions such as “What does my degree have to do with my faith?” and the issue of access to education at a time of severe cuts.
Recent statistics show that the number of applications to degree courses in the UK have decreased, especially in England, where students face the highest tuition fees.
“With the current funding cuts to higher education and higher tuition fees, questions of education, faith and justice are really important to me as a Christian student,” explained SCM member Hattie Hodgson, who attends Leeds University.
She said that the gathering will “offer a space in which students can meet to discuss these issues and be inspired by keynote speakers as well as by each other”.
The keynote speaker will be the mathematician and acclaimed author Kester Brewin. He will reflect on the value of time spent at university in shaping students’ lives, and the threats posed to this by education cuts.
The programme will include a choice of workshops, looking at topics such as practical theology, disabled students' rights, the future of higher education, Christianity and science and universities' involvement in the arms trade.
There will also be a “scratch university”, where students will have the opportunity to share skills and ideas.