Having been expelled from all university committees as VP (Education), I have no choice but to stop appealing to the University privately and instead appeal to all members of the University for the change we need. The following article is based on the University’s management accounts (which have somehow made their way into my hands) . These are privately circulated to the university executive separate to the publicly published accounts. The contents throw new light on the University’s strategic vision. This is the second in a series of articles based on the worrying information revealed in these accounts.
“As any parent knows, it can be challenging to juggle work and the needs of caring for your children. At The University of Birmingham, we have two Day Nurseries offering quality childcare and education for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years:” from the university of Birmingham website, promoting its childcare facilities.
Childcare is extremely important not only for hard-pressed university employees & students but, also their children. It helps improve equality in the work place, providing facilities that allow for maternity and paternity to be facilitated. Further for students it improves access to the university & learning to parents.
The university does charge its employees & students for the use of its onsite nurseries however, up until 2009/10 the nurseries were run not for profit. All the money generated was circulated back into the nursery’s improving the service, which was provided as cheap as possible. The university nursery services became massively over subscribed, reflecting the need of many students and university employees for a close to work nursery.
As of 10/11 & 11/12 the university has started running these services for profit to increase university surpluses. This requires the nurseries to produce a contribution of between £111,000 – £122,000 to university central finances (7% of the nursery’s total income or £305 per child) as paid in profit to the university. This money should be spent on the child and considering the strength of university finances (see this earlier post) & the poverty pay paid to many of its staff, this move could well be described as somewhat callous.
This is a move that students should be united in comdemnation of. These vital oversubcribed services, instead of being squeezed for profit, should have been invested in and expanded to improve access, equality and general well being of all the universities students and employees.
This is the second in series of articles on the university, which will continue for several weeks & then be turned into pamphlets to be delivered around the university.