Glance around the world and in nearly every corner of the globe, you'll find countries searching for a way to expand higher education capacity with insufficient public resources. From Australia and New Zealand to the United States, the challenges sound very much the same.
Waving placards with slogans including "Where’s your (arts and) humanity?" "Knowledge: £9,000 per annum," and "Students are broke: the system is broken," demonstrators marched from Whitehall, through Westminster and along Millbank.
The protest, which took place under the banner "Fund Our Future: Stop Education Cuts," rang out with the chant: "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts."
It was organized by the University and College Union and the National Union of Students, with estimates of the number of participants varying from 25,000 to over 50,000.
British students plan to launch a "consumer revolution" against a sector they see as unprepared for the consequences of marketization and high fees. The National Union of Students has demanded that sector-owned quasi-government entities be replaced by tough new regulators with the power to protect students from "collusion" on fee levels and to impose "genuine penalties" for malpractice and maladministration.
A battle for control of Britain's faculty union, the University and College Union, is under way, as a powerful leftist group plans a leadership challenge following a split over support for student protests.
The turmoil within the organization, which represents about 120,000 higher education staff, is evident in threats of strike action by the union's own staff, while Sally Hunt, general secretary, has said that union strategy is being directed by "bodies outside UCU."