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Sector news, 8 - 13 April 2013

Combine work and education to kickstart UK economy, peer advises Guardian, 8 April 2013

The Labour peer Lady Bakewell is urging British firms to kickstart the economy by encouraging their workforce to study for a degree part-time. The TV presenter told the Guardian too many managers did not believe in combining study with work, which she said jeapordised thousands of people’s promotion prospects and slowed economic growth. Bakewell has been appointed president of one of the leading universities in the country for part-time study, Birkbeck, part of the University of London. Her comments come after a report showed a 40 per cent drop in undergraduates studying part-time since 2010-11. A study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England has also said the number of postgraduates studying part-time has fallen by 27 per cent in the same period. The reduction is in part attributed to an increase in tuition fees and a decrease in support from employers towards the cost of part-time study.

Former FE student Toni Pearce elected NUS president Guardian, 10 April 2013

The new president of the NUS is the current vice-president for further education, and has said she will campaign to get more funding for college students, apprentices and postgraduates. Toni Pearce is only the second NUS president to have studied at college rather than university and said she would put further education back on the agenda. She said HE and FE students faced many of the same problems, from student finance to the lack of affordable accommodation, and these things should be tackled together. She also plans to use her time as president to campaign for a new postgraduate funding system, a replacement for education maintenance allowance (EMA), better pay for apprenticeships, and for a single Ucas system for further and higher education.