A recent report has shown that three quarters of university bosses think the government's higher education cuts will result in some universities closing. Even the managers carrying through the cuts admit the devastating effect they will have!
The vice chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University has also commented that many universities, fearing charges for 'over' recruiting students, will have thousands of empty places in September.
Higher education is being squeezed from every angle and, without a mass campaign to force the government and the bosses to back down, closures, such as those being disguised as 'mergers' in Wales, will become a regular feature.
Those arguing for tuition fees to be replaced with a graduate tax have been dealt a blow by a UCU report showing that the lowest earners would have to pay even more for their degrees under the proposed system. Teachers, for example, would pay £17,271 more than they do now, whilst nurses would pay an extra £7,824.
Without full grants, future students would still struggle to cover their living costs while they study. And then, to add insult to injury, they would be severely worse off for years of their working lives.
The report shows that there is no 'fair' way to charge people for education. The only answer is to fight for a completely free, publically-owned and democratically-run education system at all levels.
The latest unemployment figures show that long-term unemployment increased by 33,000 to a 13-year high of 796,000. And a TUC report released at the same time shows that young people are being hit the hardest. Long-term youth unemployment has gone up by 20% in the last year.
The biggest increase was in Medway, in Kent, where the problem has increased by 158%. The report points out that this situation will only worsen as the public sector cuts come into full force. It correctly attacks the government for cutting schemes supposedly designed to get young people into work without putting any alternative in place.
With 69 applicants for every graduate vacancy and the youth unemployment figure (17%) more than double the national average, a mass campaign for decent jobs is more urgent than ever.
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