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UCU launches pre-election manifesto

25 November 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

The next government must look again at student finance and consider radical alternatives to the current system says UCU as it launches its 15-point pre-election manifesto today.

In the 15-point pre-election manifesto the union says that politicians of all parties must face up to the problems of finances in further and higher education if they want to win key votes from staff and students next May.
 
Today's launch coincides with a Knowledge Economy campaign seminar on funding chaired by UCU general secretary Sally Hunt. The manifesto highlights that additional public investment is required to put the UK's post-school education sector on an even footing with global competitors like the United States and Germany.
 
Other proposals include an overhaul of careers education, robust minimum standards for apprenticeships and a bespoke training offer for adults aged 25 and over who wish to improve their skills. The document also calls for an end to zero-hours contracts, more transparency from college and university management and the removal of international students from the immigration cap.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Education has been hit hard by funding cuts in recent years. We have heard a lot about raising university and apprenticeship numbers, but little about how these expansions will be sustainably resourced.
 
'We need a positive agenda which recognises that post-school education is of great value to individuals and the economy, but also the acceptance that it cannot be delivered on the cheap. Our manifesto sets out a vision for a diverse and resilient sector, but politicians need to grasp the nettle and acknowledge that the current student finance system is broken if they are to win the confidence of UCU members and students in May.'
 
UCU will examine commitments from all political parties against six guiding principles, agreed earlier in the year, which state that policies and funding initiatives should:

  • make it easier for people to reach their full potential
  • increase the UK's academic capacity and research base
  • make the UK a more attractive place for academic staff to work
  • make it less costly for individuals to study, whether young or old
  • broaden the range of subjects available for study, and
  • lead to higher quality and reduced fragmentation in the sector.

*Sally Hunt will chair a seminar on funding in further and higher education as part of the Knowledge Economy campaign at Church House in Westminster on Tuesday (25 November).

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