Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have shown that there are over 80 000 fewer part-time places in Scotland’s colleges since 2009. Answers to freedom of information requests have shown that there are only 8 000 more full time places in the same timeframe.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has warned that the £25 million SNP government cut to college budgets combined with the pace of reforms being demanded by ministers could put a further chokehold on opportunities when thousands remain out of work.
Commenting on the figures, Liam said, “College principals have already warned that the government’s £25 million cut from college budgets next year will undermine the sector’s ability to cope with reforms being demanded by ministers. These figures show that colleges have already cut part-time places in their thousands. With over 80 000 fewer part-time places in Scotland’s colleges since 2009, Scottish Liberal Democrats are concerned about the impact a further £25 million cut will have on students.
“The complexity and pace of the regionalisation reforms are challenging enough. However, they are made almost impossible to manage successfully by the depth and scale of the funding cuts being applied by Mike Russell. This cut puts a further chokehold on opportunities at a time when thousands remain out of work.
“If we are to build a stronger economy in a fairer society we must provide a range of opportunities which enable people to get on in life. The SNP government’s focus on full time opportunities for young people should not be at the expense of lifelong learning opportunities for all other age groups.
“In the face of these worrying figures the Education Secretary can no longer afford to ignore the resounding chorus of concerns from the sector. Colleges must be given the funds and the flexibility to deliver courses in a way which best meets the needs of their students and their local areas.”
Commenting on the Dundee College situation, I have pointed out that, in Dundee College alone there are 9 591 fewer part-time enrolments this year compared to 2009, but only 18 more full time students. There are therefore vastly fewer opportunities for Dundee people who wish to learn.
This reduction in part-time places could affect Dundee parents, carers and others who find it impossible to study full time. It is really bad news for the local college sector and SNP bad choices are having a really detrimental effect.
Notes : We asked: how many students have enrolled in the institution in each of the last three years (2009-2012) broken down by part-time (PT) students and full-time (FT) students? Dundee College figures below: