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Why we have to scrap student places’—college chief

PUBLISHED: 19:40 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 05 October 2010

COLLEGE bosses have tonight defended their plans to axe language classes in London’s deprived East End for people wanting to learn English to help find jobs. Thousands of student places have already been lost because Whitehall funds have dried up, they insist

By Gemma Collins

COLLEGE bosses have tonight defended their plans to axe language classes in London’s deprived East End for people wanting to learn English to help find jobs.

Thousands of student places have already been lost because Whitehall funds have dried up, they insist.

Tower Hamlets College is “feeling the crunch of reduced Government funding,” says its Principle Michael Farley.

REDUCED FUNDS

“The cuts in classes are out of the control of the college,” he told the East London Advertiser.

“Maintaining student places at a time of reduced funding is not sustainable and will put an untenable strain on college finances.”

The student numbers funded by the Learning & Skills Council, the Whitehall department responsible for planning education and training, has been reducing by 3,000 places in the last three years.

PROTEST

This resulted in last week’s shock announcement that half the English for Speakers of Other Languages’ courses at centres in Tower Hamlets could be scrapped and 40 posts made redundant.

It led to lecturers walking-out last Friday who said the cuts will have a devastating effect on East London’s economy at a time of recession.

The lecturers are planning a second protest tomorrow (Thursday) outside the college in Poplar High Street at 5pm, demanding the cuts to be withdrawn.

Barry Lovejoy, from the University & College Union, said: “These cuts are going to deprive the people in the East End of a vital lifeline.”

The union is worried that the unemployed who don’t speak English will have their opportunity destroyed of improving their language skills and job prospects in the recession.


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