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Taking action in higher education

Compliments welcome but action is needed to protect ESOL courses, says UCU

22 November 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU today told education secretary Alan Johnson that although his compliments about college lecturers were appreciated, the government needs to stop ignoring the needs of adults who want to study in further education colleges.

UCU was responding to the education secretary's speech at the annual conference of the Association of Colleges in Birmingham.

UCU joint general secretary, Paul Mackney, said: 'College lecturers will have appreciated the favourable comments from the education secretary about the many recent achievements in FE. Alan Johnson could charm his way out of a plane crash. However, the government is ignoring the needs of adults, especially those wanting to study ESOL - English as a second language. This view has had a special resonance amongst many college principals here at the conference.

'The increasing business focus of funding for adult education is in danger of ignoring community needs. "Social inclusion" seems to have been replaced by "international globalised competitiveness". Many of us want a rethink.'