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University bosses slammed over low investment in staff

BRITISH unis spend less on staff than other countries in the developed world despite having some of the highest tuition fees, a damning report revealed yesterday.

Britain’s spending on higher-education staff stands at 63 per cent of expenditure — lower than both the average of 68 per cent and the EU average of 70 per cent — according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research.

Universities’ union UCU said vice-chancellors need to recognise that staff are their most important asset and should “invest in them properly.”

General secretary Sally Hunt said: “Students are paying some of the highest tuition fees in the world, but this simply isn’t translating into spending on the workforce.

“UK institutions’ proportional spending on staff is failing to match that of many international competitors, even though students have clearly said that this should be a priority for how their tuition fees are spent.”

UCU members in higher and further education are currently balloting for industrial action over pay disputes.

And National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said the OECD Education at a Glance report should be a wake-up call for the government.

She said: “It shows that in the UK, teachers have to work more days on average, their comparative pay is declining and their starting pay, in secondary schools at least, is below the average.

“We have the youngest and least-experienced teaching workforce, mainly because the proportion of older teachers over 50 has fallen the most.

“At the same time, children in the UK start school earlier, have shorter school holidays throughout their schooldays, are taught in larger classes and then face among the highest university tuition fees in Europe.”

Restating that the next Labour government will scrap tuition fees, shadow education minister Gordon Marsden said: “The Tories have given us the highest tuition fees in the world, but staff and students have precious little to show for it.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds argued that the report also recognises that Britain has high levels of young people in education or employment and that the financial gains from going to university outstrip the cost.

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