Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Call for alumni to challenge higher education cuts

I AM writing about the Queen's Election Doorstep Challenge which is part of the university's campaign around higher education funding. The university would like former Queen's students to play a role by challenging politicians to think carefully about HE funding as they canvass for your vote in the lead up to the Assembly election next month.

As you know, under the agreed Department for Employment and Learning budget, direct funding to higher education institutions will suffer a substantial recurrent budget cut of £68m by 2014-15.

If applied in full, it will represent a 30% reduction in the direct annual public investment in higher education from £230m to £162m.

When the new Assembly meets after the election on May 5, MLAs will have to take important decisions about future funding arrangements for the sector.

Queen's is already campaigning hard to ensure that decisions made by elected representatives protect our ability to provide a high-quality education experience for our students.

As part of this campaign, the Election Doorstep Challenge invites former students, staff and other key stakeholders to question Assembly candidates canvassing at their doorsteps about what they and their parties will do to protect investment in higher education. A cut on this scale is unprecedented in the history of higher education in Northern Ireland, so it is up to us to ensure that all candidates take this issue seriously and are made aware of the importance of higher education.

For more information visit: www.qub.ac.uk/hefunding.

IAN MOORE

Acting head of alumni relations, QUB

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