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Reggie
23-12-09, 11:11
Just thought I'd share this as I know there's a lot of people thinking about going/applying/are going to University.

Universities face a move towards two-year degree courses as the Government dramatically reduces higher education spending.
The announcement of the cuts, which will see 518m lopped off university funding next year, provoked an outcry from vice-chancellors, students, lecturers and opposition MPs last night.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said: "We will see teachers on the dole, students in larger classes and a higher education sector unable to contribute as much to the economy and society."
Key elements of the plan, outlined by the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, include a shift away from the traditional three-year degree to two-year courses.
In addition, universities that recruited more students in the autumn than ministers had budgeted for will face fines of 3,700 per extra head.

>>READ MORE<< (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/mandelson-do-your-degree-in-two-years-1848107.html)

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The Conservatives immediately attacked the Government for fining universities that were trying to meet its own target of getting 50 per cent of young people into higher education. Even with the increase in student numbers allowed by the Government this autumn, the overall participation rate remains at around 43 per cent when, ironically, because of the demand created by the lack of employment prospects, ministers had a realistic chance of nearing the 50 per cent target for the first time this year.

"We now have the bizarre situation that universities are being fined for meeting targets set by this Government," said David Willetts, the Conservatives' universities spokesman.

Professor Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University and president of Universities UK, which represents all UK vice-chancellors, said

"A reduction in the public funding per student could seriously threaten our ability to offer the high-quality experience our students deserve and expect."

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of universities, which represents 20 of the leading research institutions in the UK, welcomed the commitment to retain research funding, but added

"With other countries investing more, not less, in their leading universities, we are in danger of losing our international competitive edge."


Sounds like something to be concerned about if you ask me. I think this is the final nail in the coffin for me voting Labour. At the same time, I expect the Conservatives will do nothing more than accuse the party of hypocrisy while maintaining a non-commital point of view on what they would do with universities differently. Politics = depressing. :(

Jack Croft
23-12-09, 11:23
Politics and this country (UK) is such a mess no political party will be able to fix it without taking years to turn round mistakes made by previous PM's and there party.

Mad Tony
23-12-09, 12:20
Another reason not to vote Labour.

What annoys me though is that the government are cutting spending everywhere except health and education. Why should they be exempt?

What's worse is that they've actually increased foreign aid spending. Imagine that, Labour freezing spending on their beloved NHS but increasing spending on aid abroad. These people seriously have no idea how to run a country. These idiots must go NOW. The country can't wait until May or June next year.

Reggie
23-12-09, 12:28
I agree with you both. :tmb: For good measure here's what the Liberal Democrats said:
Commenting on Government plans to cut university funding by more than 500m, Stephen Williams said:

“The Government failed to live up to its commitment to fund extra university places and now it seems to be punishing the universities that went out of their way to help the pupils that had been let down.

“Mandelson has already been laying the groundwork for a massive hike in tuition fees that will leave students with tens of thousands of pounds of debt and deter those from poorer backgrounds from going at all.

“Now he’s forcing universities to offer those who do stump up the fees less choice, lower standards and fewer teaching hours.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are prepared to stand up for students from all backgrounds. That’s why we’ve pledged to scrap tuition fees and fight any plans to raise them.”
I know the party still has its faults (name one that doesn't!) but I think they deserve more support if we have any hope of getting in a political party that's going to fix the mess we're in and prioritise properly. Shafting education in favour of foreign aid, funding wars and failing banks is a foolish oversight IMO - its us that's going to be needing aid and we'll ALL end up failing if things don't get sorted out! At least there's one party who's got something resembling sensible and cohrent policy that seeks to rebalance things.

Mad Tony
23-12-09, 12:33
I'm strongly opposed to scrapping tuition fees, but the Lib Dems are still far better than Labour. Why most left-wing people in this country vote Labour and not Lib Dem is beyond me.

Reggie
23-12-09, 12:39
I'm strongly opposed to scrapping tuition fees, but the Lib Dems are still far better than Labour. Why most left-wing people in this country vote Labour and not Lib Dem is beyond me.
So you keep saying - and I agree. :p
Though I do actually think that 'wet' conservatives would do well to vote Lib Dem as well. I would consider myself slightly right of centre but not right enough to vote Conservative.

Perhaps if there's a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition some kind of compromise can be reached where Education at least becomes a priority again - something to protect while reducing tuition fees and scrapping unrealistic targets (50%) to help relieve the strain on the system. Education, Education, Education. What a joke.

Mad Tony
23-12-09, 12:49
So you keep saying - and I agree. :p

Perhaps if there's a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition some kind of compromise can be reached where Education at least becomes a priority again - something to protect while reducing tuition fees and scrapping unrealistic targets (50%) to help relieve the strain on the system. Education, Education, Education. What a joke.I dunno, there are still a lot of differences between the Lib Dems and Conservatives. Even so, some kind of alliance between them is more likely than a Labour/Lib Dem alliance. Remember that Gurkha scandal? There were pictures of Nick Clegg and David Cameron with Joanna Lumley in opposition to Labour's ridiculous treatment of the Gurkha's.

I don't even know why Gordon Brown is even prime minister. He wasn't elected!