Friday, 8 May 2009

'Save Our Brains'

Protesters fighting Reading University's proposal to close a second department this year gathered en masse on Wednesday outside Earley Gate to demonstrate their opposition as the University Senate met to discuss whether to implement the propsals.

Campaigners are unhappy about the level of consultation as suggestions continue to circulate that the final decision is cut and dried.

However the Senate decided against voting on the proposals in order to assess alternative arrangements, which may include transferring the department to another institution.

University spokesman Alex Brannen explained that a £450,000 government funding cut to ELQ qualifications in 2009/10 at Reading meant other courses would have to subsidise the department to keep it open.

Meanwhile an unnamed tutor commented that "the local community has been let down" as the closure will "leave a gap in the heart of Reading intellectually and culturally."

"Thousands of people participate and are involved in lifelong learning which the Government is supposed to be promoting and showing there is life beyond watching the wall and retirement."

Continuing student Sara Scott, said "We should be encouraged to keep ourselves intellectually alive rather than sitting at home waiting for dementia to hit us."

Reading University later released this statement:
"The Senate has urged the University to apply its best endeavours, in collaboration with other parties, to facilitate the continued availability of public programmes in the locality. This view was reached by consensus and no vote was taken. The view of the Senate will now be passed for consideration to the University’s Council, the University’s governing body."
Reading University Council will meet on Tuesday 7th July to make a final decision over whether to close it's School of Continuing Education.

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Update: In other news statistics provided by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education show the proportion of adult learners has fallen to it's lowest level since Labour came to power.

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History: Funding cut announced; Campaigners get organised; Action plans take shape
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Reading Action on Continuing Education provides further information on the campaign.

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