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Noam Chomsky attacks government over £1.75m Hackney Community College cuts

PUBLISHED: 16:47 20 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:13 21 May 2014

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

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Famed American academic and political activist Noam Chomsky has praised campaigners at Hackney Community College who are fighting what he has dubbed “the war which is being waged against our most valuable institutions”.

Hackney Community College.Hackney Community College.

The college in Falkirk Street is currently consulting about £1.75m proposed cuts as part of the government’s ongoing deficit reduction strategy, to be implemented in the forthcoming academic year.

The cuts come on top of a £1m reduction in the funding for adult education last year and £2m the previous year.

Chomsky, who believes those in power do all they can to maintain an unequal social status quo, said: “The attack on education in England and particularly in the US is a particularly malicious and destructive element on the neoliberal assault of the general population in the past generation.

The US-based author and lecturer, who is sometimes described as the “father of modern linguistics” continued: “Hackney Community College (HCC) is an outstanding example of what should be done if policy were devoted to the needs of people, rather than enhancing privilege power and authority.

“It’s not surprising then that the college should be targeted in the general assault.”

Chomsky’s video message was played at a public meeting at the college last Tuesday night organised by the University and College Union branch union, at which managers, governors, and trade unions agreed the cuts will unfairly impact the further education sector nationwide.

The college is consulting with trades unions and staff over the proposals, which will effectively see a £1.5m budget cut because the college has sourced some funding through business streams.

The college has not yet ruled out redundancies.

Ian Ashman, HCC principal said: “We are consulting about how the college’s structure can be re-shaped to work within this reduced funding, and how we continue to provide high quality training and courses that meet the needs of local communities and businesses.”

On Tuesday Mr Ashman, HCC’s chairman of governors, staff and students met with Hackney MPs Diane Abbott and Meg Hiller at Westminster to explain the implications the cuts will have.

The pair have promised to organise a parliamentary debate on adult further education funding.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson said the adult further education and skills budget of £4.1 billion would be prioritised where it will make the most impact.

“Our priorities remain focused on apprenticeships, traineeships, supporting unemployed people’s work skills and increasing standards in maths and English,” he said.

“We are working closely with colleges so that they understand the need to generate a greater range of income streams from local partners and employers.”


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