Commenting on the national demonstration against education cuts, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘The actions of a mindless and totally unrepresentative minority should not distract from today’s message. The overwhelming majority of staff and students on the march came here to send a clear and peaceful message to the politicians.’
50,000 in stunning march against government cuts
An absolutely extraordinary 50,000 students and staff from UCU and NUS thronged the streets of central London on Wednesday in the biggest education march for generations. The massive turnout was a stinging rebuke to the Coalition government’s plans to cut to education funding and shift the burden of costs of universities firmly onto students. A big thank you to everyone who marched in defence of education.
At the rally outside Tate Britain, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said, “it isn’t fair to make our public universities the most expensive in the world. It isn’t progressive to discourage young people from going to college. And it isn’t just to ask the next generation to pay for others’ mistakes. Over the next four years while college grants are cut and tuition fees triple, big business will get £8bn in tax giveaways from the government.”
TUC deputy general secretary Frances O’Grady slammed the coalition’s policies as creating “an American-style free market in higher education where the top universities are reserved for the privileged few and everybody else has to make do with second best”, while Aaron Porter, NUS president accused the government of “abdicating its responsibility to fund the education and skills provision we desperately need just as every other country is investing in its future.” It was an amazing turnout and a great march. You can see pictures from the day here: http://picasaweb.google.com/UCUcampaigns/FundOurFutureUCUNUSMarch10Nov10?feat=embedwebsite#
Sally Hunt’s statement on the Milbank protest
Of course, the news agenda on the day was completely captured by the incident at Millbank Tower, which distracted from the pressure being placed on the government by our magnificent march. UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt has written to all members on this and you can read her letter here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4779
Colleges could lose a third of their adult funding, says research
Further education colleges could face cuts of £2.5m each as a result of the government’s spending plans, according to independent research by the House of Commons Library. The research shows that a typical college, with approximately 20,000 students, could lose out on a third of its adult skills funding. Sally Hunt said: “Cuts of this size would have a devastating effect on local provision and put many colleges in dire financial straits. Institutions would be forced to charge students more in order to plug the funding gap.” Read more here: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6063037
Cost of studying degree has increased by more than 300%, shows UCU study
The annual cost of studying for a degree has increased by 311.5% since 1988, according to research released by UCU this week. The study, which was released on the same day thousands of staff and students took to the streets of London, showed that a shopping basket of everyday household items rose by just 127.1% in the same period – between 1988 and 2010. UCU said that if Parliament allows tuition fees to rise to £9,000, students starting university in 2012 will face a bill for the first year of their degree (tuition and maintenance loans) 101% higher than their contemporaries who started this year. Read more about this story here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5109. The research was picked up by the Telegraph and the Daily Mail here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/8121707/Cost-of-a-degree-has-tripled-in-20-years.html and here: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/news/article-1328301/University-degree-costs-triple-decades.html.
Nick Clegg’s progressive arguments exposed
Nick Clegg’s attempts to paint the Liberal Democrats’ intervention on proposals for higher education as progressive suffered an embarrassing blow yesterday. Standing in at Prime Minister’s Questions, the deputy PM said the richest would pay most for university. However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that the rich will be better off than they would have been if ministers had adopted Lord Browne’s recommendations. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “The Liberal Democrats’ argument that their intervention has made for a fairer system already looked ridiculous after they reneged on their pledge to campaign against a fees rise. The findings from the IFS are cause for further embarrassment.” Read more here: http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/5354. The story was picked up by Channel 4 here: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/tuition-fees-a-better-deal-for-the-rich/4960.
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