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UEL chief blasts government university plans

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 December 2011

University of East London’s Vice-Chancellor spoke out against tuition fee rises and immigration policy during a recent graduation ceremony.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick McGhee made a damning speech to graduating students and assembled friends and family criticising government policy to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees.

Professor McGhee said: “What other nation would work so hard to turn away the future leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, professionals and politicians of the world?

“What other nation would work so hard to deny their home students the chance to learn, share, explore and network with peers from around the globe?”

The vice-chancellor was one of 15 to sign an open letter opposing the rise in fees in December 2010.

He added: “I wonder if we are really serious about so-called student choice when so many are deterred by debt.

“With 100 per cent of teaching funding removed from the majority of courses, universities had little choice but to raise tuition fees.

“Some have welcomed being forced to do this, I have done it very reluctantly.”

Professor McGhee also called on the Home Office to declassify overseas students from the migration statistics as international students that stay for more than a year after graduation are counted as migrants under current government policy.

He argues that the majority of students do not and cannot stay and work after graduation and this policy has “severely damaged” the UK’s reputation overseas, sending “signals that overseas students are not welcome.”

Professor McGhee said: “Early applications data show not only that there is a real risk of a general downturn, but there is clear evidence of mature students, female students and students from regions of the UK most badly affected by recession and cuts being deterred more than most.”


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