Vice-chairman of the DEL Committee Jonathan Bell MLA has questioned the Employment and Learning Minister on the review of University fees as announced on Tuesday. Commenting Mr. Bell said,
“Northern Ireland leads the United Kingdom in ensuring that young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds access university. The DUP is aiming for a richly educated population not an educated rich.
Three principles will now guide our deliberations as we analyse the Brown review in conjunction with the Stewart report which will be reconsidered in the light of the Brown review. These are participation, quality and sustainability.
We must maintain our UK lead in bringing working class students into university education. That’s part of the hand up as opposed to the hand out agenda. Quality – our excellence in teaching, learning and research requires adequate financial resources. But we must not price students out of educational opportunity. Sustainability is critical we must ensure a resource to our Universities that will translate to Northern Ireland having the capacity to continue to lead the culture of learning in the United Kingdom.”