The Labour leader spoke out in support of the campaign for more college funding at a protest near Parliament, where he warned that future “skilled workers” could be deprived of opportunities amid cuts. The Independent reports.
Speaking after thousands of principals, staff and students marched on Westminster, Mr Corbyn condemned the government for saying austerity was over as teachers are still feeling its effect.
His comments to the rally came as Labour released new analysis claiming that funding for further education (FE) and skills has been cut by more than £3bn in real terms since 2010.
The party’s calculation, based on an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), has found that spending on further education and skills fell by £3.3bn in real terms between 2010-11 and 2017-18.
Mr Corbyn said there had been “chronic underfunding of education”, and said it was a “waste of resources” to deny some people the education that they need and could benefit from.
He added that college education was very important as a “pathway to liberation” for many young people, also commenting that apprenticeships and university education should be treated equally.
Satwant Deol, principal of Henley College in Oxfordshire, who has never been to a rally, told The Independent: “I am having at the moment to cut courses and it has an impact on our young people.”
She added: “I have been a deputy principal and a principal for nearly 18 years and this is the darkest time we have ever had in further education colleges.”
Kitty Howarth, who works at Nottingham College, told The Independent: “Every area is deeply affected. We have a fifth of the support for additional learning needs that we had four years ago. FE is the Cinderella of the sector. It has always been worse off.” On the march, she added: “It is unique that it is the management and the unions coming together. It is really heartening to see.”
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