Expose the true purpose of these damaging policies

10th November 1995 at 00:00
The article on Roger Ward was a disappointment as it failed to confront him with fundamental points. The purpose of his policies is simply to save public money by closing colleges, cutting jobs, increasing class sizes and reducing resources, and has no educational validity whatsoever. The whole of the workforce now know this in further education and many are vigorously campaigning against his proposals.

Thus they refuse to sign new contracts or try to deflect their worst aspects through local negotiations. Obviously it is a very frustrating campaign for two reasons. Mr Ward is not accountable to his workforce and therefore has never had to justify both his assertions that FE must become "smaller, leaner and fitter" (why, and for what purpose?) and that the best method to achieve this very dubious assertion is through an absurd, complex and extraordinarily centralised bureaucratic funding system coupled with a model Colleges' Employers' Forum contract that denies basic human rights.

The unified clarion call of opposition is also spoilt by the lack of protest of college principals and vice-principals. Privately, they sneer at Mr Ward's pathetic funding systems and ludicrous posturings. Yet, his political success is that publicly they carry out his policies of educational harm and moral injustice with seemingly great delight and huge energy.

They revel in dumping even more disastrous bureaucratic funding demands on their staff, become excited about the "efficiency benefit" of redundancy, and penalise strike action by deducting pay at 190th instead of 130th! They also have even distanced themselves from their managerial henchman by awarding themselves excessive salary increases.

It is this combination of Mr Ward's policies and the failure of college principals and vice principals to protect against them that is destroying the FE sector.

Any article on Mr Ward should expose his repugnant moral position, his failure to deliver effective policies, and examine his political success in "buying off" the college principals and vice-principals who, in later times, will no doubt justify their moral cowardice by simply stating we were "only following orders" GARETH CHESTER-JONES

55 Palermo Road London NW10

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