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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 10:06 GMT
University target 'needs 2bn funding'
The government wants 50% of youngsters to enter university
Billions of pounds of extra funding is needed if the government is to achieve its aim of getting 50% of young people to go to university by 2010, say lecturers.

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) has submitted a spending review to the Treasury - to coincide with the chancellor's pre-budget report on Tuesday - saying there will be a funding shortfall of 2.1bn within three years.

Unless the government is willing to put up the money then universities will simply be unable to meet the demands of extra students

Natalie Fenton, AUT
The union claims the government will need to create 670,000 new places in universities by 2010 if it is to meet its target.

It also argues 5,000 more lecturers and 1,250 support staff are needed over the next four years if class sizes are to stop increasing.

Universities and colleges were already "bursting at the seams", the AUT said.

The AUT also warns that 47% of current lecturers will be eligible for retirement by 2010, making the need to recruit new staff even more acute.

Investment 'needed now'

President of the AUT Natalie Fenton said: "There isn't a 'buy now, pay later' option for the government.

"If they want to increase participation then they need to start investing in the system immediately.

"In the last two decades student numbers have increased five-fold while national funding has been cut.

"Unless the government is willing to put up the money then universities will simply be unable to meet the demands of extra students."

See also:

22 Oct 01 | Education
Universities ordered to widen access
16 May 01 | Education
Promise to widen university access
20 Nov 00 | Scotland
New drive against elitism
04 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Labour widens attack on elitism
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