It is alarming to hear that Birkbeck, University of London is facing massive cuts to its teaching and other staff as it prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary (Editorial, 11 November). I, along with hundreds of thousands of others, can testify to the life-changing, life-enhancing quality of its courses, the quality and commitment of its staff, and the unique environment it provides to students, many of whom show their commitment by studying part-time and at night.
For some, Birkbeck offers an education denied or missed earlier in life. For others, it’s a place a to change direction mid-career, or simply to enrich themselves intellectually, with benefits to the wider community.
In many ways, Birkbeck is unique. But as your editorial suggests, it is also symbolic of a wider approach to higher education that offers opportunity to all, irrespective of age or background.
As we face mounting environmental, economic and social challenges requiring resilience and adaptability, that commitment to lifelong learning must be cherished and defended.