Why Higher Education Cuts Are Bad Idea for Wales in the Long Term; Finance Minister Jane Hutt Last Week Announced an Extra PS570m for the Health Service in Wales over the Next Three Years. but This Is No Endless Pit of Resources, and a Host of Departments Will See Their Budgets Shrink as a Result. Student Leader Stephanie Lloyd, President of NUS Wales, Argues against Cuts to Further and Higher Education
LAST week, in response to yearon-year reductions in funding for Wales by the UK Government, the Welsh Government announced a proposed cut of 6.8% in the post-16 and higher education budget. "Only 6.8%?" you may say.
Politicians looking at these figures across a spreadsheet may not think that's a lot in the grand scheme of things. Well, 'only' 6.8% means PS65m cut across post-16 and higher education funding.
That's PS20m (5.2%) across higher education and PS45m (7.8%) across post-16 education, including further education colleges.
Such enormous cuts cannot be absorbed as efficiency savings.
It is likely to lead to fewer students going on to college, to courses being cut, and reductions in the number of lecturers or tutors. We already know about institutions cutting staff just in the anticipation of reductions to funding.
It could lead to corners being cut in services, in support, and in institutions. Most importantly, it means cutting people's chance of a future, or someone's second chance of changing their future, and their family's future, for the better.
We have the biggest youth unemployment in a generation. The cost of living is rising; the cost of education is rising. Add to that the fact that many students, such as those studying part-time, are not even included in the funding support system.
So it's not surprising that one third of students consider dropping
out because of financial worries. And rather than alleviate these threats, the Welsh Government wants to add to them? It is commendable that the Welsh Government is increasing investment in schools, tackling the link between poverty and educational attainment and targeting the creation of jobs for young people. …