Thursday, 26 March 2009

RACE To Save Uni Department

Protesters have gathered to demonstrate their feelings against the proposed closure of another department at Reading University.

The School of Continuing Education organises and runs around 40 classes on a short or part-time basis in a mix of day and evening schedules, including such subjects as Sandra Smith's forthcoming day school at Reading Museum on British Master Drawings on Saturday 17th October.

Reading University has said a funding shortfall has left it with 'no choice' but to close departments outside it's priority areas, irrespective of the economic viability of those departments - as was seen last week when the University Council voted overwhelmingly to shut the profitable School of Health and Social Care, which also fulfills a vital social function as the only training college for social workers in the region.

Reading Liberal Democrats have been outspoken in their criticism of the University authorities and have offered their full support to the campaigners efforts.

LibDems education spokesperson on RBC, Cllr Kirsten Bayes commented, "These cuts are absurd. They come at the worst possible time for the thousands of local people being made redundant, who are looking to retrain in order to resume their careers."[1]

The University issued a press release explaining their decision to cut the public programme of courses in which Pro-Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) Prof Christine Williams explained the cut in ELQ support will impact funding for over 55% of students enrolling on the open programme courses as well as 37% of Certificate students. She says that if the department were forced to remain open it would require a subsidy of about £500,000 per year to cover the lost grant from taxpayers funds allocated by central government.

Lindsay Mullaney who has helped set up the campaign web-site Reading Action on Continuing Education described the news as "a huge blow to hundreds of people" and hopes that the campaigners efforts will help secure alternate arrangements to ensure that high-quality courses remain available to those who want to keep their brains active into later life.

Neighbour Paul Kingston, who helped set up the site, explained that he was drawing on his knowledge from studying 'The Terrible 20th Century' to conclude that the decision to close the school is "absolutely ridiculous".

Reading University Senate will discuss the recommendation 'in the summer term' before a final decision is made in July by the University Council.

Oranjepan asks:
Is this what is meant by 'lifelong learning strategy'?

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay Mullaney is the sister of Cllr Richard Stainthorp as any fule kno


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