By Lucy Ashton
Figures released today by the Scottish Funding Council show that headcount and enrolment at Scotland’s colleges has fallen since 2018-19.
The data shows that headcount has dropped by 25,854 and enrolments have decreased by 26,797.
These reductions mainly occurred during the months of April and May due to the national lockdown, however the figures show that the drop came on top of fourteen years when the SNP failed to return college numbers to the level that they were at when they assumed power.
Jackie Baillie MSP, pictured above right, says it is vital that colleges are able to add value to Scotland’s post-covid recovery and support learners as industry and the economy are re-shaped. Labour are therefore calling on the government to ensure that colleges receive a sustainable funding settlement in this year’s budget.
Ms Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, said: “It’s all too clear that the SNP has failed colleges over fourteen years in power and limited the future prospects of thousands of Scots including many in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute as a result.
“On top of those fourteen years of neglect, the pandemic has hit colleges hard, and if the sector is to survive this crisis and continue to provide the high-quality education and training vital to post pandemic recovery, it is time for the SNP to start delivering sustainable funding for the sector.
“To re-build from this pandemic we will need a high-skilled workforce. If the SNP is serious about our economic recovery, it must invest in our future workforce by supporting colleges now.”
- Picture of West College Scotland at Clydebank by Bill Heaney