Education: Teachers in university plea

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The Independent Online
Politicians should accept industry's goal of higher education for 40 per cent of all 19-year-olds, university teachers said yesterday.

In its election agenda the Association of University Teachers points out that the United Kingdom is 15th out 24 industrialised countries in the proportion going to university - nearly a third.

There should also be a new student compact, established by law, which offers students more personal attention that they receive at present in return for a promise that they will work hard.

"Quality higher education cannot be delievered on current staff:student ratios which are worse than many in primary and secondary schools," says the programme.

A new government should make immediate plans to deal with "the retirement time bomb" which means that half university lecturers will be over 50 in four years' time. Money is needed at once for a "new blood" scheme, the document says. University funding should be on a five-year basis and there should be a new independent review body for all staff who work in universities.

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