For many years there has been financial assistance made available to students in the UK through many schemes. As we know, in recent months, HM Government in Westminster has announced a new system and the devolved assemblies and parliament are having to reassess their options for students as well.
In the past, there were fewer students. Fewer people were able to benefit from the education from studying at a University. And for those who did get the opportunity, there were the financial worries back then as well.
Tomorrow, The Open University will open a new building at its Walton Hall campus. Many of the University’s first students will be there – some of them for the very first time. The building that will be officially opened tomorrow
is a key Open University facility for innovative educational human computer interaction research and testing activities. (The Open University)
and it is named after someone who was very much from a working class background with limited financial assistance available to her from her parents to go to university. She was enabled by the grant of assistance from the Carnegie Trust to study at the University of Edinburgh.
She went on to enter politics, and as Arts Minister in the Harold Macmillan administration in 1964 played a significant role in the creation of The Open University.
The Rt Hon. Baroness Lee of Asheridge, was born in 1904 in a mining family in Lochgelly, Fife. She was elected MP for North Lanarkshire in a by-election in 1929, becoming the youngest Member of Parliament at the time. She lost her seat in the general election in 1931, but was returned to the House of Commons in 1945 as MP for Cannock, in Staffordshire. Whilst not in the Commons she married Aneurin Bevan, with whom she share her life – but not always agreeing on politics – until his death in 1960.
It was as Arts Minister in the Harold
Macmillan Wilson* government of 1964 that Jennie Lee played a significant part in the creation of The Open University. It is a fitting tribute to this important work that the University is opening the Jennie Lee Building tomorrow.
I look forward to seeing the photographs and news from the official opening and hope to read how studying with The Open University has transformed the lives of those first students.
Until then, I must return to my studies, and my second assignment for my own current module with the OU. It’s back to Personal Finance, and even a question on Student Finance!
* Thanks to Nonconformistradical for pointing my typo.
Links of interest
- The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (carnegie-trust.org)
- The Open University (open.ac.uk)
- The University of Edinburgh (ed.ac.uk)