Pay for part-timers

November 9, 2006

Diana Green correctly observed ("V-cs urge more state support for cash-strapped part-timers", October ) that the Government "has not moved on from the myth that the only way to study is the full-time model".

At the Equality Challenge Unit, we believe that part-time study enables many groups who would not otherwise go to university to access higher education. But that part-time study must be funded.

Without appropriate funding, older students may find themselves excluded due to family and work commitments. This can disproportionately affect women, who make up 60 per cent of all part-time students. Similarly, part-time study may be the sole option available to some disabled students.

As so often, a failure to take equality into account when formulating policies runs the risk of those policies being ineffective. A policy on part-time studies, without an appropriate funding regime, disproportionately disadvantages older students, women and students with disabilities.

This is not an effective way to promote widening participation.

Shelly Smith
Senior policy officerEquality Challenge Unit

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