Saturday, January 12, 2008


I was in London yesterday for another meeting of the UALL campaign against the changes to funding that threaten University adult education. The one thing that has surprised us is how successful the campaign has been. Something that both the Government and those of us who work in the system thought would go through unnoticed has become a very uncomfortable issue, with a Select Committee inquiry taking place this coming Thursday.

Dave Osler joins the protests here, and for comprehensive links I suggest you look at the web sites run by Open University students opposed to the policy here and here. Sign the petition as well, if you haven't already done so. Of course we are not alone. George Szirtes writes of the Arts Council cuts here. These are curious times.

And now George Szirtes has signed the petition. He writes:

Once you begin to wonder what mature students are doing for the economy you may as well shut any course that does not lead directly into business or industry.

But then you may as well shut down your tap root into humanity.

Thanks George.

1 comment:

Nogbad said...

I have a feeling that the ELQ proposal is a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. Over a sly Benson & Hedges someone pointed out that hacking £100M of funding out of the toffs who already have a degree and promising it to little Johnny so that he can get on to a Foundation Degree in leaf sweeping has to be a nailed on vote winner. Of course many things can interact in a complex system and nobody spotted that most of the money would be taken from the OU and Birkbeck - the larger providers of adult ed in this country - and neither is well placed to react quickly to cover the funding short fall. On the upside both have a few savvy students who all have a vote and I think that much of the current discomfort is coming from the emails and letters that distance learners are sending to their own MP - mess around with the Uni of Kent and you might upset three MPS, mess around with distance learning providers and you can expect a lot of your colleagues to be stalking the corridors of Westminster in order to bend your ear.

As long as we keep the pressure on I think they will pull back - £100M is a lot of money in education but in government terms it's loose change and I don't think they'll want to go to the wall over this with all the other stuff that's floating about.