As politicians move forward with their key election initiatives, more than 120,000 university and college staff offered six key challenges to the next Government. Unions representing lecturers, researchers and academic-related staff in UK colleges and universities are challenging candidates in the General Election to explain how, if elected, they would address the needs of further and higher education.
The two unions, the University and College Lecturers Union (NATFHE) and the Association of University Teachers (AUT) are asking for a range of commitments on funding, access and other issues affecting staff and students. “The outcome of the election will affect the future of colleges and universities and their students and staff. With almost 120,000 potential voters, our votes count and we are urging our members to take the election seriously,” said Paul Mackney, NATFHE general secretary.
The six key challenges outlined by the union include: measures to promote greater access to education, funding for excellence in diversity, investment both in staffing and in support for part-time students, academic freedom to be extended across universities and colleges, action to ensure the next generation of staff is in place to educate future students and turning universities and colleges into “standard-bearers” of equality and anti-discrimination.
“The next government will face many challenges and the future of further and higher education will be key ones,” said Sally Hunt, AUT general secretary. “Therefore it is about time policy-makers truly listened to the staff who work in our universities and colleges. They have the commitment, passion and ideas to ensure excellence in all our universities and colleges.”
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