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Voice fears "privatisation" of higher education

Voice: the union for education professionals has expressed its fears for the future of higher education as the Government publishes its response to Lord Browne's funding review (3 November 2010).

General Secretary Philip Parkin said: "We fear for the future of higher education in this country. Raising fees and withdrawing state funding from many courses will lead to the effective privatisation of university education as graduates shoulder the costs instead of the Government.

"Research has indicated that the fee rises could deter students and we are concerned that students from poorer families in particular will be deterred from attending universities charging higher fees or even from going to university at all.

"Replacing state funding for many courses with income from student fees and 'rating' degrees according to graduate employment rates and salaries would demonstrate a truly cynical disregard for the value of education. Those who advocate such schemes know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Liberal Democrat ministers have already abandoned their principles over tuition fees. Politicians, many of whom benefited from a university education before the days of fees and loans, run the risk of pulling up the ladder of opportunity behind them.

"There is already state funding for education at primary and secondary level and it is crucial to continue that into higher education if society values the skills and learning that education brings. We live in a knowledge-based economy and this country needs more graduates.

"In the future, schools may struggle to recruit teachers as more graduates seek the most highly paid employment, in order to ease their debt burden, rather than socially valuable careers such as teaching.

"As most students already graduate with the burden of large debts and then, on top of loan repayments, have to face increasing costs for housing, pension provision etc, it is unfair that they should have to pay even more.

"Raising the level of fees could make the UK uncompetitive with countries that charge considerably less. Universities could see fewer foreign students and Britain could lose its place as a world centre of excellence in higher education."

ends

Contacts: Communications Officer Richard Fraser in the Voice Press Office (pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk) on 01332 372337 or 0794 871 0413, Senior Professional Officer (Education) Ian Toone (philipparkin@voicetheunion.org.uk) on 01332 372 337 or 077 259 601 32.">

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Voice: the union for education professionals
2 St James' Court
Friar Gate
Derby DE1 1BT
Tel : 01332 372337
web : www.voicetheunion.org.uk

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