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Universities Face Job Losses and Department Closures

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Universities in England risk entire department closures and job losses due to a drive by the government to focus on vocational education and the financial impact of Covid-19.

There are fears that arts and humanities could be hit particularly hard with institutions pre-empting a crackdown on what the government deems to be low-value courses that do not lead to increase earnings. The University and College Union has suggested redundancies could cause long-term damage to the sector.

Following the 2019 review of all post-18 education, ministers are expected to announce a policy change this year, which could rebalance resources between higher education and further education.

Universities have already been hit by the pandemic and further cuts to income are likely to lead to job losses or entire departments closing. London Economics even suggested that around 20-30 institutions already lack the liquid assets to cover current shortfalls in funding.

At Leicester University members of the University and College Union have voted to strike after negotiations led to compulsory redundancies. The union has accused the institution of focusing on commercially lucrative courses whilst cutting world-renowned research.

In an increasingly competitive market, some universities may be forced to rationalise courses or look to specialise in certain fields. At Solent University, around 8% of the workforce has taken voluntary redundancy as part of a five-year plan to expand health and nursing courses whilst cutting back on business degrees.