Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Cont Ed Cut

Reading University Council voted on Tuesday to close it's School of Continuing Education following funding cuts which meant it would be looking to fill a £1/2m shortfall.

A variety of options have been sought to keep access to education open for mature students at all levels and while some courses may be transferred to TVU, Oxford University has agreed to operate a programme of public courses from Reading's Whiteknights campus from 2010.

Course restructuring has been ongoing since the announcement first came to light, with the Professional Management Programme transferred unchanged to the Henley Business School and the Town Hall lecture series continuing. The future of Day Schools, the Wide Language Programme and the Careers Studies Programme are still unconfirmed but Reading University has responded to the public pressure by making commitments to work with other institutions to ensure student disruption is minimised.

The Workers Educational Association has also held discussions with the University of the Third Age and other providers such as New Directions to ensure short academic courses are available more widely - showing that the economic case for a more proactive attitude, reaching out into the local community to expand student enrollment has gained weight.

Meanwhile, former Cont Ed student June Stoute watches on somewhat wistfully as her son graduates.

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Update: Linda Fort quotes RACE campaigners Paul Kingston and Lindsay Mullaney. They said:
"While we cannot claim our campaign persuaded the university to find innovative ways of continuing these courses, we are sure our petition – signed by over 900 students – was an indication of people’s strong feelings over this matter."
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History: Funding cut announced; Campaigners get organised; Action plans take shape; Decision time

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