Back in 2008 I worked for Swansea University in a department called DACE – Department of Adults Continuing Education. I lost this job. Government cuts saw to it that this department was closed. It was my first job, I was a website design assistant. It seemed such a huge injustice to work so long and hard in academia, from the age of 5 until 21 and graduate only to lose my first job in a matter of weeks. To add pressure, my son had just been born, so I had to find alternative employment quickly.
I remember feeling shocked but not just because my job was cut. The University lost many highly qualified and experienced staff, some holding PhDs, experienced lecturers and other valued support staff. There was the knock-on effect of the community centres in places like the Rhondda who leaned on Swansea's DACE for support, were now also going to suffer.
These cuts happened again. I have now seen both Labour in 2008 and the Conservative/LibDem Coalition in 2015 make devastating cuts to our life long learning. The University and College Union (UCU) has calculated that the average reduction in funding for institutions in the forthcoming academic year is 6.14%, although three Welsh colleges face budget cuts of more than 8% and will lead to significant course closures.
Yesterday protests with both students, lecturers and members of the public took place outside the gates of the Cowbridge Road Bridgend campus. These protests also happened in 2008 when my job was cut.
If you want to stop history from repeating itself then you need to do something different. We cannot continue to keep voting in the same old powers and traditional, detached parties and expect these cuts to stop.
We want to put an end to adult education cuts. Learning should be life long. To quote my policy directly:
Lifetime Access to Education:
The best time to learn is in the earliest years, but for many people
life events can mean that they miss out on education, or due to personal
issues they may be incapable of taking full advantage of the education
available to them up to the age of 18. We are committed to providing
easy access to both basic education and higher education for all; we
believe that the UK can build on the excellent foundations already laid
by the Open University.
Abolish Tuition Fees Policy:
Labour introduced them, the Tories and Lib Dems have increased them.
We will abolish them.
Tuition fees have a disproportionately negative effect on students from
poorer backgrounds, and act as a barrier to intelligent and willing
young people's development to their full academic potential. We believe
that an immediate freeze in tuition fees is necessary until a workable
plan for education to be free can be implemented
We understand that course fees are not the only cost students endure. I want to see massive copyright reform on course materials so they can be accessed openly. I want file sharing source reference materials to no longer be considered theft. Wanting to learn should not be a crime.
Rob James, a lecturer at Bridgend College said: “These cuts would be a devastating blow to colleges and risk decimating further education.”.
I agree Rob. So I say to you, don't vote for the same people who are ramping up fees only to cut your schools, colleges and universities.
Vote for the party that values education the most
Vote for the free exchange of thoughts and ideas
Vote for the free access to knowledge