The University and College Union (UCU) has written to prime minister Boris Johnson urging him to support colleges and universities with financial guarantees.
The letter to Boris Johnson marks the launch of the union's Fund the Future campaign, and is calling on Mr Johnson to support the education sector to stop thousands of teachers, researchers and professional support staff losing their jobs at a time when education would be needed to drive the recovery from the pandemic.
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UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the government’s limited actions so far had failed to meet the challenges that further and higher education face.
As part of the campaign, the union is urging its members and the public to contact their local MP through the campaign website to make the case for more funding and support. UCU has also launched a new campaign video today and Ms Grady is hosting a live Facebook Q&A event at 1pm.
Last month, the Association of Colleges warned that more than £2 billion of college income for the next academic year was uncertain and that colleges were worried they would not have the resources and capacity needed to support students.
Grady said: "Universities and colleges are a crucial part of the economic and social fabric of the UK and should be central to our recovery from the damage done by the Covid-19 crisis. The government’s limited actions so far have not come close to meeting the challenges further and higher education face.
"We now desperately need a clear and coherent plan from the government that guarantees funding and jobs to protect our academic capacity. The country cannot afford to push tens of thousands of teachers, researchers, and education professionals into unemployment at a time when we will need education to be a key driver of recovery.
"Our Fund the Future campaign will demonstrate the importance of education and make the case for investment in our colleges and universities to politicians across the political divide. We have to ensure that education is given the support it needs to lead our recovery from this crisis."