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House of Lords debate part-time education and the future of the OU

The OU’s Chancellor, Baroness Martha Lane-Fox of Soho, led the celebration of the OU’s mission and success in a debate in the House of Lords last week. You can watch the full debate here with the Baroness speaking from 12:27 to 12:31. A full transcript is also available.

Chancellor of The Open University, Martha Lane Fox

Chancellor of The Open University, Martha Lane Fox

The Chancellor described the OU as “an extraordinary and important institution, which we must all continue to support,” not least in relation to the OU’s open access policy. She talked about the inspiring students she meets at OU graduations who should be classed as double-time learners as opposed to part-time. She referenced the internal challenges of recent times, but was clear that the OU is “still an innovative place and still has a bold vision for the future.”

The Chancellor also pointed to the fact that, with the external policy and funding climate in England, it is a tragedy that “at a time when, more than ever, we need continued learning as part of our culture, there has been such a dramatic fall in part-time learning.”

Radical change needed

Peers rallied round the critical nature of the UK Government Post-18 Review of education and funding in England in addressing the dramatic decline in part-time numbers, sending a clear message to the Government that a radical change is needed.

The UK Government spokesperson, Viscount Younger of Leckie, said: “I hope that today noble Lords have been left in no doubt that we hold the OU in high esteem and will continue to support and applaud its successes.” The Government is due to agree the outcome of the Review in early 2019.

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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