Campaign launched over part-time study

A campaign has been launched to promote part-time study following the dramatic fall in the number of such students choosing to enter higher education.

May 20, 2013

A report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, released in March, revealed that the number of part-time undergraduates and taught postgraduates entering higher education fell 37 per cent from 2010-11 to 2012-13.

Much of this decline has been blamed over the eligibility of new student loans, which are unavailable to those who have already studied for a degree.

The Part-Time Matters campaign aims to highlight some of the benefits of part-time study to the economy, society and the individual.

Timed to coincide with Adult Learners’ Week (18 to 24 May), the initiative is supported by organisations including Universities UK, Birkbeck, University of London, The Open University and the National Union of Students.

It is also being championed by Labour peer Baroness Bakewell, who was recently elected president of Birkbeck.

She said: “Part-time study is vital for the economy and social mobility. I am delighted to support the much-needed work of the Part-Time Matters campaign to highlight that part-time study has huge benefits, is often overlooked, and now faces an uncertain future.”

The campaign is calling for part-time graduates and others to share their success stories of part-time study by writing to their MPs and supporting the cause on social media.

It has already been announced that Universities UK is carrying out a review into the reasons behind the drop in part-time course enrolments. The review is expected to report in October.

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Reader's comments (1)

Lamenting the continued decline of part-time study has sadly featured periodically over the past 30 years or so. Largely seen through much reduced PT technical and pre-professional education related to industry and commerce (eg. HNCs etc) replaced and expanded by (previously) funded government favoured full time degree level study in HE (and also partly in FE). Also more recently, likewise witnessed for the liberal arts and sciences PT study as student fees have begun to bite. With few obvious benefactors in sight as a rescue for the former, the downward trend probably presents a challenging but culturally important work in progress. In contrast the advent of (possibly attractively sponsored accredited) Higher Apprenticeships/CPD at degree and masters levels may begin to redress the balance for work-related PT routes to qualification for regular Professional technical and commercial careers, as fees rise particularly in the more prestigious universities. Albeit as an expensive option to be shared by approved employers and BIS, but likely subject to budget vagaries and ultimately vulnerable to engrained poaching of qualified staff, unless safeguards are devised and mandated.

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