Friday, April 24, 2009

Another philosophy program under threat.

Subject: Centre for Lifelong Learning Axes its Entire Humanities Provision

Massive Cuts threatened at the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Embargo: 21st April 2009

Cardiff University has announced a proposal to close most of the subject areas in one of its oldest and most respected departments only months after publishing a book detailing its history and extolling its virtues. Marian Williams’s A History of Lifelong Learning at Cardiff University, details the 125 year history of the University’s provision of part-time classes throughout south-east Wales as part of a commitment that dates back to the original Royal Charter that established the University.

Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning provides the opportunity for students of all ages and backgrounds to access Higher Education irrespective of background and previous qualifications. The Centre currently runs hundreds of evening and weekend classes in a wide variety of subjects in Cardiff and across the whole SE Wales Region; from Brecon in the North to Porthcawl in the West as far as Caldicot and Monmouth in the East. Many of its students have gone on the take higher degrees and to develop successful careers as scientists, historians, writers, etc.

If the proposal is implemented then this will radically reduce the Centre, scrapping its entire Humanities provision, including literature, history and archaeology, music, creative writing, philosophy, art history, religion, photography and Welsh. The closure of the Centre will leave a huge hole in educational provision for the region with hundreds of adult learners unable to complete their studies and to fulfil their full potential. Neither senior academic staff at the Centre nor representatives of the part-time tutor and student groups were consulted before the announcement of the proposal on Monday 20th April.

The proposal places a question over the commitment of Cardiff University towards community engagement and indeed the value of the humanities more broadly. Essentially the provision is being devastated on the basis of economic projections and not on the viability of the current provision. This decision comes at a time when Lifelong Learning provision across the HE sector is being decimated across the UK by Universities looking to cut costs, flying in the face of Government commitments to provide opportunities for retraining during the deepest recession in decades.

Surprisingly, this proposal comes shortly after the University received a sum believed to be in excess of £2M from the Welsh Assembly Government to support part-time higher education as a result of the Graham Report. It also seems to fly in the face of the University’s declared commitment to community engagement evidenced, for example, by its support for the Beacon for Wales, the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

The proposal will undergo a three month consultation period. If it is accepted it will result in redundancies, fewer opportunities for specialist tutors and a substantial reduction of opportunities for adult learners including the retired, the unemployed and members of disadvantaged groups who have benefitted from the Centre’s classes for many years.

Full-time and part-time staff and students at the Centre were said to be shocked and extremely angry at the proposal and the lack of consultation so far in the process.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Save Humanities and Welsh Meeting: Monday 27 April

There will be a meeting on Monday 27 April at 5.30 – 6.30pm in room M1.02. The purpose is to discuss the situation at Lifelong Learning and map out a plan of action. It’s open to anyone who is concerned by the proposal to cut all Humanities and Welsh teaching from the programme. Please come and show your support. There will be opportunities for people to become more actively involved.

BBC Good Morning Wales
BBC Radio Wales is doing a feature on the proposed axing of Humanities and Welsh tomorrow morning (Friday 24 April). It’s on the Good Morning Wales programme, and will probably be broadcast sometime between 7.30 and 9am.

There will be interviews with staff, tutors and students. Our veteran student, Eileen Younghusband has given an interview. In her ninth decade, Eileen is the personification of Lifelong Learning. Her face will be familiar, as she has photographed in the “Choices” brochure and other publicity material for Lifelong Learning.

The Good Morning Wales webpage is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/radiowales/sites/goodmorningwales/ where you can listen to the programme live online, or catch it later.

Press Release
We’re attaching a press release. Do feel free to circulate it.

Things you can do to help!
1. Come to our meeting on Monday.
2. Write to the Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.
3. Write to Jane Hutt.

Write to the Vice-Chancellor!
If the proposed cuts affect you, then tell the university authorities. If you want to start at the top then write to the V-C. Dr. David Grant’s email address is V-C@Cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone 02920 874835

Dr. David Grant,
Vice-Chancellor,
Cardiff University
Main Building
Park Place
Cardiff
CF10 3AT

Write to Jane Hutt!
Jane Hutt AM is the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills.

Contact Jane Hutt by email at: Correspondence.Jane.Hutt@wales.gsi.gov.uk or write to

Jane Hutt AM
Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning
Welsh Assembly Government
5th Floor
Ty Hywel
Cardiff Bay
CF99 1NA

Feel free to circulate this email to anyone who may be interested.

Dr David Wyatt
Co-ordinating Lecturer for History & Archaeology
Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning
Senghennydd Road
Cardiff CF24 4AG

t. 029 20875397
e. WyattD1@Cardiff.ac.uk
w. http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/history
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn/archaeology

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