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Assembly Committee Meets the President

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 23 September 2010

Reference: E&L 01/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning met not one, but two presidents yesterday in Parliament Buildings. MLAs welcomed the Presidents of the Students’ Unions at Queen’s and the University of Ulster to their weekly meeting to hear their views on an Assembly Bill that deals with ensuring that student loans are repaid.

Adrian Kelly (UU) and Gareth McGreevy (Queen’s) discussed a variety of student-focussed issues with the Committee’s MLAs and it was agreed that meetings would be more frequent.

Chairperson Dolores Kelly MLA, said: “The Committee has always taken the views of students on board when dealing with issues surrounding the universities and colleges.
“With the economic uncertainty which lies ahead we need to ensure that the voices of young people are heard and respected. Any spending cuts have to be considered carefully so that they do not disproportionately damage our potential for economic growth and development. The colleges and universities are clearly key drivers of our economy”
Deputy Chairperson Jonathan Bell MLA, said: “Very soon, decisions will need to be made around student fees and finance and the directions that our universities and colleges will take. The Committee is determined that the voice of students will be heard in those debates.
“We have worked hard to put the economy at the heart of political debate. People must understand that the young people coming out of universities and colleges must be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to make our economy competitive and dynamic.”

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