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Attacks on Evening Classes & Adult Education

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by Udo Erasmus, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    Cardiff University has announced a proposal to close most of the subject areas in one of its oldest and most respected departments, only months after publishing a book detailing its history and extolling it virtues. Marian Williams’ A History of Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University, details the 125 year history of the university's provision of part-time classes throughout south-east Wales as part of a commitment that dates back to the original royal charter that established the university.

    Cardiff Centre for Life Long Learning provides the opportunity for students of all ages and backgrounds to access higher education irrespective of any previous qualifications. The centre currently runs hundreds of evening and weekend classes in a variety of subjects in both Cardiff and across the whole of South East Wales; from Brecon in the north, Porthcawl in the west and as far as Caldicot and Monmouth in the east.

    If the proposal is implemented then this will radically reduce the Centre, scrapping its entire humanities provision, this includes literature, history, archaeology, music, creative writing, philosophy, art history, religion, photography and Welsh.

    The closure of the Centre will leave a huge hole in education provision for the region with hundreds of adult learners unable to complete their studies and to for fill their potential. Neither senior academic staff at the Centre, or representatives of the part time tutors and student groups were consulted before the announcement before Monday the 20th of April.

    The proposal places a question over the commitment of Cardiff University towards community engagement and indeed the value of humanities as a whole. Essentially the provision is being devastated of the basis of economic projections and not the viability of current provision. This decision comes at a time when Life Long Learning across the HE section is being decimated throughout the UK by universities looking for cut costs, flying in the face of government commitments to provide opportunities for retraining during the deepest recession in decades.

    Things you can do to help!
    1. Come to our meeting on Tuesday 5th May 7:00 pm at Cardiff Lifelong Learning Centre, Senghenedd Road
    2. Write to the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.
    3. Write to Jane Hutt.

    Write to the Vice-Chancellor!
    If the proposed cuts affect you, then tell the university authorities. If you want to start at the top then write to the V-C. Dr. David Grant’s email address is
    Telephone 02920 874835

    Dr. David Grant,
    Cardiff University
    Main Building
    Park Place
    CF10 3AT

    Write to Jane Hutt!
    Jane Hutt AM is the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills.

    Contact Jane Hutt by email at: Correspondence.Jane.Hutt@wales.gsi.gov.uk
    or write to

    Jane Hutt AM
    Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning
    Welsh Assembly Government
    5th Floor
    Ty Hywel
    Cardiff Bay
    CF99 1NA

  2. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

  3. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    The campaign meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 pm in the Lifelong Learning Centre, Senghenedd Road, Cathays.

    Surprised this hasn't attracted much interest.
  4. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    A campaign has been launched by staff and students to save the humanities at Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning after proposals threatened over 2,000 Cardiff University students’ studies and up to 140 jobs.

    Staff were informed two weeks ago of plans to cut the courses available across the Centre as a result of a pay restructuring. The cuts would reduce courses on offer to just three areas: social science (including business), computing, and modern languages.

    This would mean that the Centre’s literature, creative writing, history and archaeology, music, philosophy, art history, religion, photography, and Welsh courses would no longer run as of September 2009.

    However, senior staff members have been left incensed at the lack of consultation on the plans, and called on University Council to delay the proposals until they have had a chance to study them.

    UCU has also accused the University of being in breach of employment law.

    “Any consultation that went on before the proposal was put forward is not clear to me,” said Dr. Ian Spring, co-ordinating lecturer for media, literature, and creative writing.

    “The matter wasn’t raised at the Operational Committee, or through the Board of Studies, or through individual consultations with the co-ordinating lecturers, or with our student or part-time tutor representatives.

    “We would like to pride ourselves on our democratic functions, but none of these functions were employed.”

    If the plans, which are based on economic projections of the impact of new pay and grading arrangements for the coming years, were implemented, over 250 courses would be cut across South East Wales, and up to 140 jobs would be lost.

    It is estimated that more than 2,000 students would be directly affected by the loss of courses.

    In addition, over 50 free-standing modules scheduled for the Autumn and Spring semesters, which can be taken as part of undergraduate courses, would be cancelled. Over 20 postgraduate students would also be deprived of opportunities to teach.

    The undergraduate students affected would include medicine students, who would be unable to take Welsh as their Student Selected Component (SSC) in their second year of study.

    Members of staff have also expressed dismay at the University’s reluctance to release the projections. Dr. David Wyatt, co-ordinating lecturer for history and archaeology, said: “No reason has been given for the delay in issuing the figures. Without access to these it will be impossible for us to produce an alternative plan so save humanities provision, so it is essential that the University is held to account over this issue.”

    The projections of the impact were due to be released shortly after gair rhydd went to press on Friday.

    The University began its 90-day consultation period, as required by law, on April 20th, and this period will expire on July 18th. However, despite the University’s statement that “no decision has been made” on the proposals, gair rhydd has learnt that an initial vote on the proposals is to be taken at the next meeting of the University Council on May 18th, with any redundancies likely to be considered on July 6th, although no confirmation would be issued until after July 20th.

    Jenny Randerson AM requested a meeting with Vice-Chancellor David Grant to discuss the issue, but was offered May 21st, after the initial vote.

    Cardiff University and College Union (UCU) president Mark Aston suggested that voting before the 90-day consultation period has ended could be unlawful, as well as in breach of an agreement between UCU and the University.

    “Two years ago the University made a commitment to give six months’ notice before redundancy, but they are in breach of that here.”

    A University spokesperson disputed this, claiming that the UCU and the University had agreed that in some circumstances the six months’ notice would not be possible, but UCU does not believe these circumstances warrant the short notice.

    UCU has repeatedly asked the University for discussions on how it would fund increasing costs to the Centre.

    It has asked the University to conduct a survey to find out whether students would be prepared to pay higher fees, but the University refused.

    It then asked whether an incremental rise in fees could be looked at, but the University has not responded.

    Finally, UCU’s request for the University to consider discussions with other institutions in Cardiff such as UWIC and Coleg Glan Hafren about taking on the Centre’s courses was dismissed on the basis that the University did not believe that other institutions would be interested in the courses.

    Both UWIC and Coleg Glan Hafren confirmed to gair rhydd that no approach had been made by Cardiff University.

    The timing of the announcement, at a time when many students are on study leave and are unable to protest, has also been criticised.

    Mark Aston believes that the University has previously delayed releasing controversial documents and proposals until this time of year, claiming that in recent years this has been done in relation to redundancies in the School of Dentistry and a dispute over the National Framework Agreement.

    gair rhydd understands that a similar tactic has been used in this case, and that those who were privy to the decision have known the proposals for at least two months.

    They were presented with a number of models for restructuring, but neither the eventual nor the rejected models have yet been released.

    Nick Yates, Cardiff Students’ Union Education and Welfare Officer, said: “The Lifelong Learning Centre brings together the local community, University staff, and students, in an environment where knowledge is king. As a member of Cardiff University I am proud to be part of an institution that is committed to community learning by its founding charter.

    “This commitment embodies everything that education should be about: fulfilment that benefits both individual learners and the communities in which they live. In this tough economic climate we must act to survive in the present, but we must do all that we can to ensure action today doesn’t threaten our values or our future.”

    Gareth Jones AM also spoke out against the plans, criticising the timing and questioning the decision to cut Welsh provision.

    “I would suggest that this is a considerable blow to the WAG’s commitment to promoting bilingualism,” he said, adding: “Lifelong Learning is crucial to the current agenda of raising skill levels.”

    The controversial plans come less than 18 months after Cardiff University gave evidence to the National Assembly for Wales’s Enterprise and Learning Committee, in which it endorsed the view that “a happier, healthier population, strongly supported culturally, and with high concentration of well educated people, offers improved conditions for economic performance.”

    The evidence also states that the University’s ‘Innovation and Engagement Strategy’ “[ensures] that the research and learning & teaching excellence of the University extends beyond the campus and makes a valuable economic, social and cultural contribution to Wales and beyond.”

    Under Article 8.4 of the University’s Strategic Plan 2006-2007 to 2010-2011, the University is committed to “widening access to higher education thereby enriching cultural life and benefiting society.”

    And in a book on the history of lifelong learning in Cardiff published by the Centre last year, the Dean of Lifelong Learning, Richard Evans, asked: “Can we continue to combine the pursuit of knowledge with its application for the benefit of society, as those who framed the original charter intended? Yes, we can.”
  5. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    There will be a mass emergency demonstration against the massive cuts on Monday (18th May) at 4 pm outside the Main Building, Cardiff University, Park Place (the demo will probably still be going on after 5 pm for people coming from work). This is called by the trade unions and was decided at a mass meeting of the campaign, radical groups such as Cardiff Students against War who occupied in defence of the right to education in Gaza will also be in support

    Lifelong learning is the community wing of the university that allows many people from different backgrounds to study a wide variety of subjects.

    This is part of a process of brutal cuts in education across Britain, seen most sharply at London Met University where staff recently took strike action and a group of students are currently in occupation.
  6. Zachor

    Zachor Think Free

    What else can you expect from a Labour govt? They are not interested in building the knowledge of the average working person just lining their own pockets and empire building.
  7. lewislewis

    lewislewis Lumumba Cymru

    It's more about the University's decision. Universities are quite independent and allowed to make their own priorities. The Chancellor awarded himself a hefty pay rise if I remember correctly. Cardiff Uni is extremely wealthy and there does not appear to be any pressing case to make cuts. If cuts 'have' to be made they should be to top-level salaries.

    That said, the Assembly Minister Jane Hutt should step in to make the University overturn its cuts to lifelong learning, as these cuts totally contradict the Welsh Government's policies and agenda which is for education to be accessible to everyone. They managed to step in and force Coleg Sir Gar to reverse their massive job cuts recently (thanks to pressure from Plaid), so they should logically be able to do the same to Cardiff Uni.
  8. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    According to Jenny Randerson AM who came to the last campaign meeting (admittedly not an impartial source!), reported both Rhodri Morgan and Rhodri Glyn Thomas had indicated support for the cuts. Rhodri Morgan saying that LibDems were not in government and didn't understand that budgets required tough decisions & R G Thomas accusing her of not supporting work-based learning (which seemed to indicate counterposing this to lifelong learning)
  9. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    Actually, I see that Plaid AM Gareth Jones (never heard of him?!) is in support of the campaign: http://savehumanitiescardifflifelon.../04/more-support-for-humanities-lifelong.html

    I met Rhodri Morgan last week, I suggested that it was shameful that the Labour Party that once spearheaded adult education and lifelong learning as part of working class emancipation in the early 20th century was now burying it in the 21st century.
  10. lewislewis

    lewislewis Lumumba Cymru

    Gareth Jones is Aberconwy (in the nowrffth), hopefully Leanne Wood & Chris Franks will assist the campaign. I cannot (or don't want to) envisage a scenario where Plaid would not oppose these cuts.
  11. Udo Erasmus

    Udo Erasmus Well-Known Member

    Leanne Wood and Chris Franks need to move quickly if they want to meaningfully support this campaign. A crucial vote is taking place on Monday at the University Council, hence the demo at 4 pm outside the Main Building on Park Place.

    A good start would be for them to immediately sign the petition (and everyone on here):

    The Assembly is actually in contravention of its own professed policies & should be developing a strategy in support of the right to education.

    Last month, hundreds of FE students and teachers were protesting outside the assembly as FE education is being massacred. This week it was students after Plaid Cymru ditched its opposition to student fees and voted for attacks on education alongside Labour turncoats.

    Next week, Bridgend A-level students will be going to the Assembly:


    The Welsh Assembly Government wants Wales to be a learning country, where high quality lifelong learning helps people to reach their goals. Lifelong learning creates better opportunities, empowers communities and helps to provide the jobs and skills that people need. Lifelong learning will help to bring a bright and sustainable future to the people of Wales.
    The Welsh Assembly Government aims to raise the levels of achievement of the people of Wales through its education and training policies. Through these policies it aims to achieve a social and economic well being that is vital to developing a prosperous economy.

  12. lewislewis

    lewislewis Lumumba Cymru

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