The Future of Universities and Colleges in Tayside: A Public Meeting

Councillor Laurie Bidwell

5 November 2011

On Friday evening, I attended a public meeting at the University of Abertay.

'The Future of Universities and Colleges in Tayside: A Public Meeting'

had been called to discuss:

"The Government's proposals for reforming education for 16+ year olds will have a significant impact for universities and colleges. Student and staff groups are holding a public meeting where members of parliament from across the political spectrum, teaching unionists and student unionists will be in attendance - this meeting is the chance for YOU to have your say."

The meeting heard how the Hands Off Abertay campaign had formed to combat the SNP government's clumsy plans for a forced merger between Abertay University and the University of Dundee by the end of October.

While it was clear that the immediate threat of a forced merger had been removed by the Scottish Government, many speakers warned that the longer term plans of the government, still included a reduction in the overall number of further education colleges and universities in Scotland through mergers and takeovers.

Students from NUS Scotland and Angus and Dundee Colleges also contributed to the debate and emphasised the educational damage inflicted by the current cuts to the budgets for Angus College and Dundee College.

This had already led to a significant cut in college courses and the number of student places available.

Support to students through bursaries had also been reduced.

These cuts in our local Further Education Colleges will unfortunately reduce the number of college places available each year for our school leavers.

This reduction in opportunities will also have a damaging knock on effect in our Universities.

By reducing the number of students who can undertake an access course in a further education college, the Scottish Government is thereby reducing the flow of students who may be able to progress to a University course.

This all seemed a long way from the ambitions stated in the SNP government’ latest consultation paper on post school learning:

Putting Learners at the Centre: Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education


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