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The plight of FE

I read with interest the article by Ian Nash and Anne Nicholls "'Dearth of expertise' in open learning" (TES, July 11).

The conclusions of the research are rather worrying given that the new Government has a major commitment to open learning.

The further education service has had more than five years of major cuts, including, I understand, more than 10,000 redundancies and premature retirements. I was one of those redundancies, or should I say two, as I have been made redundant twice in the FE service.

I now manage an open-learning centre in the library service, which, with limited resources, has nearly 500 students on its books. Clearly if the FE service does not gear itself up for the opportunities that this Government will be offering, then the libraries, the private sector, and other organisations will corner this growing market, and FE will be unable to pull itself out of the mess created by the previous government.

IAN HUNTER

4 The Mall Dunstable, Bedfordshire

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