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Free university planned for Brighton and Hove
They say the best things in life are free, and that ethos is being embraced by organisers behind the Free University Brighton.
Ali Ghanimi, Tim Huzar and Stu Alley are looking to bring together experts willing to pass on their skills to keen learners who have been priced out of other educational courses.
Although students would not gain a formal qualification, the university, whose motto is ‘education for love not money’, is looking to offer courses on a wide range of subjects.
These will include website building, carpentry, adult literacy and numeracy lessons, English as a second language courses as well as more informal discussion groups.
Organisers have already reached an agreement with Brighton and Hove libraries allowing them to use space for free and are now looking for more, including business space and workshops at night or cafes, which could benefit from extra visitors.
Other unusual classrooms could also include the beach and a 1950s Airstream trailer.
Founder Ms Ghanimi first started looking into the proposal in the summer and is looking to hold a launch event in the New Year.
She says she was inspired to act by the rise in tuition fees, anti-cut campaigners and by the Occupy protest movement.
Solution for unemployed
The 44-year-old said she hoped the university would be a solution for out-of-work teachers, people who can’t afford to go to university, out-of-work people with more time on their hands as well as responding to cuts in adult education courses.
An electronics engineer and masters student in organisational psychology who had previously worked in the charity and public sectors, Ms Ghanimi began thinking about the free university earlier this year after she found herself struggling to find work.
The university’s website will also alert people to free education opportunities already being put on in the city including lectures open to all at University of Brighton and Sussex.
A signing-up day held in Jubilee Library this week gathered 30 signatures of people wanting to be trained or do training.
She said: “What we teach will depend on what people want to learn.
“When we started we thought about charging a little bit of money but talking to people they couldn’t said even afford £10 a month so we’ve decided everything must be free. I’m hoping the idea will grow and grow.
For more information visit www.freeuniversitybrighton.org.
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