Now JMU Axes 34 Courses; Fresh University Blow for Students

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Byline: BY BEN TURNER Education Reporter

THE cull at Liverpool universities continued last night as John Moores revealed it was axing 33 degrees.

JMU said 34 courses - all but one offered at degree level - will be consigned to the history books from September. The university will no longer accept students on to a raft of mainly combined degree courses in subjects including economics, journalism and politics, and business and finance.

JMU must shave 1,000 first-year students off its over-subscribed register next year.

Students and council leaders last night reacted angrily to confirmation of the cuts, which come just days after the University of Liverpool revealed controversial plans to scrap its politics, communications, philosophy and statistics departments.

And there is particular dismay over the abolition of Liverpool's only National Youth Agency endorsed course, which creates fully qualified youth workers in a city striving to boost community cohesion by engaging with teenagers.

Last night, LJMU stressed redundancies were not on the cards and all current students would be able to finish their qualifications.

Any new recruits will also be able to continue to do modules in all the degree subjects being shelved.

A spokeswoman said it needed to reduce its yearly intake to avoid incurring "significant penalties" from the Government after exceeding its admission target by 17% last year.

She added: "The university is reducing the number of first-year intakes by 1,000, from 2009, by a number of measures including the withdrawal of courses to reduce overall numbers.

"In effect, the university is 'full' and now in danger of incurring penalty costs should we continue to offer the same broad portfolio.

"A number of programmes have been withdrawn across the university which reflected diminishing interest, low retention and poor completion rates over the last three years."

She added: "Students who had applied for the programme have been offered alternative courses both at LJMU as well as other universities and colleges as is normal practice.

"We offer the broadest range of courses in the north of England and we will continue to introduce new courses and withdraw others based on market need."

But last night city leader Cllr Warren Bradley condemned the cuts.

He said: "In the 21st century, there should be the opportunities for everybody to do what they want to do at higher and further education.

"Universities have a public service but now seem finance driven which is a sad indictment on society. …