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The Open University’s closure plans in East Grinstead

May 20th, 2014 | By | Category: News

“The Open University has announced the closure of our regional office in East Grinstead, some of the staff can relocate to the OU office in Camden, London but many of the 64 people will lose their jobs,” writes their UCU Branch Administrator.

They have just issued the following press release:

THE OPEN UNIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION (UCU) BRANCH

East Grinstead Centre to close with potential loss of 64 jobs

The executive body of the Open University (OU) has agreed to implement plans to close the university’s regional centre in East Grinstead.

The plans announced on Tuesday 13 May leave 64 jobs at risk and the University and College Union (UCU) says the closure has serious consequences for the OU’s hugely successful regional network.

The union said regional centres have become increasingly important in recent years as online courses have developed to allow students access to teaching and support.

This ‘blended’ learning has become a hallmark of the OU’s teaching, and helped maintain its position as the leading distance-learning university in the world. UCU said strong regional centres must be maintained to allow students the vital element of face-to-face teaching and help.

In March the University’s academic body, the Senate, voted overwhelmingly against the closure. Two petitions* organised by staff have attracted more than 1,300 signatures in support of keeping East Grinstead open and maintaining the OU’s regional structure.

UCU branch officer Lydia Richards said: “The Open University is respected the world over for the way it brings high-quality higher education to a wide range of people. Part of that success is the efforts of staff in regional centres to harness the IT revolution, but still provide essential face-to-face support.

“People seeking a second chance at learning or trying to brush up on vital skills to meet the demand of the new economy need the OU – and they need the support its brilliant regional staff provide.”

Contacts

For further information and interviews contact: the UCU Office at The Open University, 01908 653069 or

ucu@open.ac.uk.

http://chn.ge/1hnUo7F and http://chn.ge/1q6A8yB

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