FIGURES ON COLLEGE NUMBERS SHOW REDUCTION OF 128,000 FOLLOWING SNP CUTS
Scottish Labour has today challenged the SNP Government on its record on colleges, with official figures showing the number of college students across Scotland falling by over 128,000 in the last five years.
According to figures from the Scottish Funding Council, women and those without any qualifications have fared particularly badly.
Figures show that in 2011/12 the number of students going to Forth Valley College, which has one of its campuses in Stirling, was over 3,900 less than in 2007/08.
Following cuts of over £50m to college budgets and the merging of local colleges into regional institutions, the college sector has faced huge pressure, leaving many in the sector concerned that this shift away from lifelong learning is leaving thousands of people without a chance to upskill or retrain for new jobs.
Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, Dr Richard Simpson said: “We’ve known for some time that local colleges have been squeezed until the pips squeak by the SNP, but these figures are astonishing.
“The SNP have been in power for six years, but they still don’t seem to get how important colleges are to economic growth and Scotland’s skills-base. Despite all their bluster and rhetoric, slashing college budgets can only have one possible effect and that is seen here with thousands fewer people coming through their doors.
“And we shouldn’t forget either that Bruce Crawford, the SNP MSP for Stirling voted to slash college budgets, and many people in the area will quite rightly be asking what he is doing to represent them. They’ve rubber-stamped these cuts and as usual put independence and party interest ahead of people in Stirling.
Shadow Education Secretary Kezia Dugdale MSP said: “These figures are further evidence that there is no second chance with the SNP. With 1200 fewer staff and tens of thousands of fewer students, it’s clear the SNP has blithely wasted this potential and rightly they are on the hook for it.”
Notes for editors
- Statistics come from Scottish Funding Council’s online Infact database – https://stats.sfc.ac.uk/infact/index.htm
- John Henderson of Colleges Scotland told the Education and Culture Committee on Tues 1 Oct: “…we seem to have retreated from colleges’ role in lifelong learning … We know that people’s lives change and that the economy changes, and yet we no longer seem to have the capacity in the college system to respond to those changes.” – http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=8536&mode=pdf