Monday, December 06, 2010

   Stockwood Pete: Whipping Yarns

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"We're not being whipped" Cabot's LibDem councillor Alex Woodman told the council debate on abandoning the sell-off of the city's green spaces....

Stockwood Pete: Whipping Yarns

Green Higher Education Policies

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Given all the debate on tuition fees, university funding, student protests and the surrounding political turmoil, in the Lib Dems especially, readers may be interested in the Greens policies on Higher Education in full:

Higher Education - principles, rationale, context

ED230 As a Green government will be working towards sustainable living and not consumption-led growth, Higher Education, like schools and colleges, will need to change to reflect the kinds of knowledge, skills and vision that are needed. Our society will need people to be educated to the highest level of which they are capable.

ED231 Evidence suggests that the best results are achieved by people who have an active desire to study at this level when they feel ready, rather than be an automatic extension of Further Education.

ED232 Higher Education is essential in developing a civilized society. Education should continue to be treated as a process and not a product. It should enable a democratisation of knowledge and skills which are available to anyone who wants to study for a degree regardless of their age or background.

ED233 Higher Education is facing a funding crisis. Departments are closing, students are being forced to pay increasing fees for their education, lecturers are working longer hours and receiving worsening pay and conditions and the student to tutor ratio is increasing.

ED234 Under a Green government there would be no student loans as there would be no tuition fees and living costs would be met by Citizen’s Income. In the short term we will reintroduce student grants to meet living costs.

ED235 Due to the nature of the economic growth we have been experiencing there has been a shift in recent years away from manufacture and industry-related subjects. Whilst trends in the subjects students choose to study will continue to evolve there will be sufficient funding to protect minority subjects and to cater for potential swings back.
ED236 The Green Party will support a properly funded, accessible Higher Education system which would reverse these trends.

ED237 Currently the standard of achievement of students with comparable degrees and results from different institutions is inconsistent.

ED238 There will be much more rigour applied to ensure consistency through external accreditation systems.

ED239 Higher Education will offer real support to mature students and students with families. There will be a minimum requirement for Universities and Higher Education Institutions to offer a free crèche to students and staff, nappy changing and breast-feeding facilities as well as religious facilities such as prayer spaces to cater for people from a wide range of ages, religions and ethnic backgrounds.

ED240 Accessibility will be addressed through a combination of these institutions offering Widening Participation Programmes and creating a series of firm targets which will ensure increased social diversity.

ED241 It is essential that there is not a commercial bias in research undertaken in Higher Education Institutions.

ED242 There will be sufficient funding to encourage independent and ethical research.

ED243 The Green Party recognises that under the current system the ability of students transferring from school or Further Education to Higher Education is extremely diverse, sometimes depending on their social background or the school / college they attended.

ED244 Until this is no longer the case, in order to ensure full accessibility and high standards, institutions will be funded to offer an externally accredited Access Courses to students they consider to have the potential to study at a Higher Level but who are not yet ready for it.

ED245 Currently many Higher Education Institutions are dependent on international students due to the inflated fees they pay. In some cases this can lead them to accept international students who are less able than EU students who they reject.
ED246 Under a Green Government Higher Education Institutions will be properly funded by the state so that where international students are fee-paying the amount the institution charges will more accurately reflect the true cost.

ED247 At the same time schemes would be set up to provide funding both for places for less wealthy students from developing countries and at the same time to develop Higher Education in developing countries through partnership projects so that in the longer term they will not need to travel. Subject areas where there is a shortage of skills in that particular country (for example Medicine and Engineering) will be prioritised.

ED248 Currently some institutions have some of the worst records for their environmental footprint.

ED249 Under a Green government Higher Education will adhere to the same stringent regulations as large businesses and other institutions.

BBC News - Child poverty 'rises' among working households

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Child poverty within working households is rising and now accounts for 58% of all UK cases, a report has found.
A Joseph Rowntree Foundation report says there are 2.1 million impoverished youngsters in homes where parents are in work - up slightly on last year.
Co-author Tom MacInnes said it showed work alone was not the answer to lifting people above the bread line...

BBC News - Child poverty 'rises' among working households

BBC News - Judges to consider equality challenge to Budget

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The government will be forced to defend its Budget in the High Court later, against claims it broke equalities law.
The Fawcett Society is seeking a judicial review, arguing that ministers failed to consider the impact of tax and welfare changes on women.
The women's rights group says £5.8bn of the £8bn savings outlined in June's Budget would come from women...

BBC News - Judges to consider equality challenge to Budget