Freedom of information figures obtained by local MP Jo Swinson and the Scottish Liberal Democrats show that Cumbernauld College, which has a campus in Kirkintilloch, has lost 3089 part time places since 2009.
Only 154 more full time places were added over the same period.
Overall 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 with only 8,000 more full time places created in the same time frame
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.
Commenting Jo said:
“Parents, carers and others who find it impossible to study full time will find significantly fewer opportunities to learn at Kirkintilloch campus of Cumbernauld College.
“It is hard to overstate the potential impact that 3089 fewer part-time enrolments compared to 2009, with only 154 more full time students, could have on local residents.
“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.”
Commenting on the figures, Mr McArthur 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.
“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.”
1. During an evidence session at the Education Committee on the 5thFebruary, Dumfries and Galloway college principal Carol Turnbull said:
Carol Turnbull: “Where we have had to make reductions is in our part-time provision. The focus and the funding have moved away from that. Whereas we had, perhaps, 8,000 part-time enrolments three or four years ago, we are now down to about 4,000 in total. We have had to shift our resource in that way to focus on full-time places for young people.”
2. A table of the FOI responses is attached. Colleges with asterisks reflect FE institutions which have merged i.e. Glasgow Central and Metropolitan into Forth Valley. Those which are in bold have not returned their FOI response.