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A new voice for UK students: first minister of students appointed

The UK is taking a creative approach to making the government more accountable to student needs. Lord Triesman, a former radical and active supporter of increased student rights, has been nominated the first ‘minister for students’ who is to report the British student voice directly to the House of Lords. Greeted with approval by the National Union of Students, this initiative is intended to bring government closer to the 2.3 million HE students in the UK that have expressed unease and concern about their current position as fee payers and subsequent education ’consumers’. Lord Triesman, a former  academic and university union leader, will chair a new forum made up of leaders/representatives from the National Union of Students, the National Postgraduate Committee, the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities, and international students.

Foreseen in this initiative are the following measures

  • quarterly forum meetings to discuss problems students want the government to address in education;
  • ministers have to respond in full to the student recommendations made in annual reports;
  • ministerial visits to university campuses;
  • five ‘student juries’ that will examine specifically finance and access issues in higher education.

Education Guardian