Friday, October 19, 2007

Adult education fights back

Activity opposing the changes to funding that threaten Adult Education in universities is growing as the consequences of the proposals become apparent.

The UCU is now getting back to its proper role of defending its members and has issued a statement in opposition to the cuts. Sally Hunt correctly points out that "institutions doing the most to try and deliver both the widening participation agenda and the lifelong learning agenda will be hit the hardest".

The Open University has produced a succinct, and highly critical, briefing document. It points out that "20% of part-time students in England will become unfunded from 2008/09 (against only 2% of full-time students)", clearly indicating that the impact of the measure will be to divert funding to support more middle-class students entering University straight from school, directly contradicting some of the Government's main aims.

On a personal level, the response from my MP, the Health Secretary Alan Johnson, was encouraging. Our students and part-time tutors are also making themselves a nuisance to their elected representatives.

In the meantime, The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), has announced the start of an 18 month investigation into the future direction of Lifelong Learning policy. One can only hope there is some left by the time they report.

When the announcement was made, all I could feel was despair and isolation; now hope is beginning to stir. It would be wonderful if we could win.

You can read more here, here, here, and here. And, if you haven't done so already, sign the petition here.

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