It has recently been announced the University of Ulster will be closing its school of Modern Languages at its Coleraine campus, moving its Psychology department away from Magee campus. The University had previously announced plans to cut 210 jobs and 1200 student places in 2015/2016.
The Young Greens would like to express our opposition to both job cuts and reductions in student places, which will not only endanger livelihoods for staff, but also worsen provision for students in Northern Ireland.
We recognise that in the context of a Westminster government intent on imposing cuts to funding, savings must be made in universities and schools. However, we do not believe the cuts that are being made at University of Ulster are the best course of action, considering reduced funding; moving the burden of costs and cuts onto university workers and students is unfair while there are still stark inequalities in wealth and income among university staff and expenditure.
Cutting entire departments is also a short-sighted and poor choice, leaving young people in Northern Ireland little choice but to leave NI or avoid higher education altogether, as courses will plainly not be available for us- for example there will now be nowhere in NI to do a degree in German. Cutting back entire sections of education in Northern Ireland is simply a disastrous choice for the area.
In addition, we would like to voice our concern that these cuts might lead the University of Ulster towards raising tuition fees to £9000 per year. We are opposed to the raising of fees to meet costs; saddling students with debt and creating economic barriers to higher education is not the answer.
We, as Greens, oppose austerity on a UK- and EU-wide basis. Within Northern Ireland, we believe the precarious positions of workers and young people should take precedent, in the context of cuts being imposed to education.
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