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Make George proud! Reduce tuition fees

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To: The Master, Birkbeck, University of London:

Birkbeck, University of London iscelebrating its 190th anniversary in 2013. It isLondon's only specialist provider of evening higher education to students of all ages, professions and walks of life. On 8 November 2013 the Master of the College, David Latchman, claimed that Birkbeck was continuing to be true to the mission and vision of its founding father, George Birkbeck, whose rallying call was ‘‘Now is the time for the universal benefits of the blessings of knowledge.”

The recent Thomas Review “The Power of Part Time” published this autumn noted that short courses were viewed as an “excellent way of attracting students to higher education and provided a smoother transition for those who have not studied for a while”, thus proving key to widening participation.

In spite of this, the college has closed down courses and raised fees for Certificate in Higher Education modules to four times their previous level. This has deterred students from enrolling and resulted in staff redundancies, reducing students’ options. Adult education has now been taken out of reach for many with limited resources at a time of economic crisis. This seriously effects the possibilities for students of all ages, professions and walks of life to participate in higher education.

We ask the Master of Birkbeck not to miss this opportunity for acknowledging that the following principles of higher education are under threat:

1. Higher education is a public good.

2. Academic scholarship is pursued with a spirit of enquiry rather than a view to commercial gain.

3. Access to teaching and learning at university is based on intellectual potential and should be available to the widest number of people.

Please join our campaign to call on the Master of Birkbeck to reduce the fees for Certificate in Higher Education modules to sustainable levels so that Birkbeck can live up to its declared mission and serve the community.

Thank you

Birkbeck UCU

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