High tuition fees for a low level of learning

In light of the recent article in The Times (11 July) regarding overcrowding of the fashion courses at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, as course representatives, we would like to draw attention to the following.

This situation applies to most other CSM courses. In recent years, many CSM courses have increased student intake. In the case of the product design course, student intake is 50 per cent higher than the figure advertised in the course handbook. As a result, studios and workshops are overcrowded, stretching technicians to the limit.

Furthermore, for tuition fees of 1600 a year (5950 in the case of overseas students), students on the product design course received approximately 13 hours of personal tuition a year. The first- and second-year students in particular require more support in their approach to design problems and management skills.

Awareness needs to be raised, and a wider discussion generated as to the above problems. It is not our intention to denigrate the hard work put in to CSM by current staff. We do, however, question management strategies of expansion without adequate provision for new students. We understand that Government funding is at an all-time low and that university overcrowding is a nationwide problem. But we rightfully expect the quality of education advertised to us.

We still believe that CSM offers some of the best opportunities in art and design education. It is simply our concern that if the present trend continues, this will cease to be the case.

Anton Andrews, Susan House and Arash Kaynama

Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design

London WC2

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