University of Leeds and Leeds University Union call on Government to address higher education concerns
A joint statement by the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union on the reform of the higher education sector and the impact on students.
This September has seen the first cohort of students enter university under the governments new funding regime and number controls. The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have been working in partnership to ensure that these students benefit from an unrivalled student experience, and we will continue to do so. This includes continuing to lobby the government for assurances around our joint concerns about the direction of Higher Education policy in England.
Universities are critical for the future of our society. They exist for the public good, creating knowledge and disseminating it to individuals and to society more widely. We value knowledge and education for their own sake, but also acknowledge the need for our activities to have impact that is ultimately of value to society.
With a background of continued uncertainty in the sector, we remind Government of our continuing concerns about their policies on higher education (http://goo.gl/BYKnB), and in light of more recent developments assert that:
- The observed reduction in the total number of students entering Higher Education following the introduction of £9K fees runs counter to the best interests of our country as we face recession and the need for economic growth.
- A clearer position on postgraduate funding and participation is necessary to demonstrate a commitment to the importance of both research and taught postgraduate study in British higher education.
- We continue to have concerns over the current method of funding Higher Education and believe that the government should resume its efforts to explain the new student loans system to prospective students and their parents and advisors to ensure that finance does not deter students from participating in higher education.
- The use of artificial thresholds of A level grades (AAB or ABB) to remove students from the student number control combined with policies on core and margin has created a volatile and unpredictable pattern of student recruitment across the sector and has reduced the opportunity for students to study at Russell Group universities. The government is urged to reconsider these policies.
- International Students with valid visas to study in the UK must be given reassurance that they can complete their studies, wherever possible at their chosen institution.
- Students should be exempted from the UKs net migration figures, in line with other Western countries such as Australia and the USA.
- Graduate job creation is essential to address wider youth unemployment, and this should be encouraged in both public and private sectors.
For more information
Paula Gould, Senior Press Officer, University of Leeds
T: 0113 3438059
Sarah Mace, Marketing Manager, Leeds University Union
T: 0113 3801390