College Cut Fears
Without fuss or fanfare the signage from our local college was stripped down over the holiday period, signifying the end of its long and historic association with James Watt.
In its place the West of Scotland branding went up confirming the centralisation of further education in the region.
Last week, an official report published by Audit Scotland – the country’s spending watchdog - confirmed our fears about the forced merger.
It said that in the next year the new regional West of Scotland College will see a fall in its grant funding of around 7%.
At the same time, it is being expected to dig into its cash reserves to help cover half the cost of centralisation which stands at over six million pounds.
Add to this, the predicted decline in the other sources of income for Scotland’s colleges’ and the picture looks bleak.
Given that our influence in the decision making process has diminished as a result of centralisation the question now remains as to where the axe will fall.
Will our local college be forced to bear the brunt of the cuts? Or will the Audit Scotland’s report finally bring about a change of heart in the SNP government and encourage them to give our colleges a second chance?
Students and staff are hoping for the latter, and the government must listen to their calls for the merger process to be fully funded.