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Taking action in higher education

UCU, students and VCs protest over funding change

21 November 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

In a letter in today's Guardian UCU, NUS and 26 heads of HE institutions protest against the cuts in funding for HE students studying for qualifications equivalent to, or lower than, qualifications for which they have previously received an award.

The letter, signed, among others, by UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, NUS president, Gemma Tumelty, and vice chancellor of the Open University, Professor Brenda Gourley, says: 'we ... are puzzled as to why, without consultation, the government announced that from 2008 universities and colleges in England will lose £100M of public funding for the teaching of students studying for qualifications equivalent to, or lower than, qualifications (ELQs) for which they have previously received an award.'

It goes on to say that the modern labour market requires up-skilling and re-skilling, and 'ELQ students are the very ones re-training, updating professional skills and accessing the lifelong learning which the Prime Minister and Lord Leitch espoused.'

The letter also warns that: 'Widespread "unintended consequences" are likely, particularly in relation to widening participation. Significant numbers of adults will discontinue their lifelong learning because they cannot afford it. Their withdrawal will make large tracts of university continuing education unviable - often in the very institutions criticised for not doing enough to widen participation.'

The government is called on to defer implementation and refer the policy for proper scrutiny.

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