Britain’s residential colleges have a long tradition of support for worker education. Obviously much has changed over that time, including a steady decline in trade union membership levels, and an even steeper fall in active trade union participation. Yet worker education is thriving, and the successes of UnionLearn and of the network of Union Learning Representatives have been one of the most important developments in UK adult learning in recent decades. So I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Ruskin College was withdrawing its historic provision in this area, and am reblogging this post from the Friends of Ruskin blog.
Below is the text of a letter which we are going to send to the Guardian for publication. If you would like to be a signatory to this letter, please leave your name and title/position in the ‘Leave A Reply’ section below. Please also feel free to distribute this further amongst your union branches and networks.
Thank you for your support and solidarity.
As academics, working-class educationalists, labour movement practitioners, politicians, and alumni, we are shocked and angered by the decision taken by Ruskin College, Oxford to effectively close the International Labour and Trade Union Studies BA and MA courses by making all academic staff in this department redundant. The decision removes from the UK the only remaining institution providing labour and trade union studies.
Ruskin College was established in 1899 to provide education to working class people who couldn’t have otherwise gone to university, and since then the institution…
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