Robert Halfon committed to higher education reform

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HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has expressed his commitment to higher education reform in a letter to The Guardian published on November 7. His key aim is to ensure that students who take on the burden of a student loan are guaranteed a good graduate job at the end of their degree.

In his letter Mr Halfon said: “The problem is that about half of all graduates are not getting graduate jobs. The cross-party committee firmly believes that if students are going to take on the big burden of a loan, as well as having a good education, there must surely be a good graduate job at the end of it.”

Mr Halfon also believes there is a skills deficit partly caused by not enough universities offering degree apprenticeships. He explained how the manufacturers’ organisation EEF have warned that around three-quarters of businesses are concerned about finding workers with the skills they require.

Social justice is also an area of concern, with Mr Halfon stating that the Education Committee are determined to tackle the decline of those from disadvantaged areas going to university, with the number falling by 15% each year since 2011.

Linked to this, Mr Halfon explains that the number of part-time students has dropped by 51% between 2010 and 2015.

He said: “There should be more flexible learning to encourage part-timers and an end to the rigid structure of three-year degrees, so students can hop on and off courses and build credits.”

Lastly Mr Halfon questions the “obscene” increase in the salaries of university vice-chancellors, stating they have become “out of kilter with reality.”

He said: “There should be very strict criteria on acceptable levels of pay, enforced by the new Office for Students.”

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Andrew Impey

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