The NUS has welcomed a report from a leading think tank that calls on the government to reinstate its recently scrapped £560m Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme.
Setting out recommendations for economic growth, the report, published last week by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, said the government should: “Encourage participation in secondary education by reintroducing the EMA.”
This follows analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that suggests EMA raises participation and completely pays for itself when young people leave education, because they tend not to claim as many benefits and instead pay more in income tax.
According to Shane Chowen, NUS Vice-President (FE), Education Secretary Michael Gove’s decision late last month to replace EMA with a £180m bursary scheme represents a partial U-turn that should be taken further.
“The Government have already partially back-tracked on their decision to scrap EMA and now as the OECD has added its voice to that of the IFS, college leaders, students and politicians of all parties including the Mayor of London in backing its positive impact,” said Mr Chowen.
“The Education Secretary should complete his U-turn and fully reinstate the vital payments that allow young people to fulfil their educational ambitions whilst simultaneously boosting economic growth.
“Mr Gove has shown a poor grasp of his brief since coming into office but surely even he can see that this is a win-win situation and take the advice of the OECD.”