50% cut in the number of Shetland part-time students since 2008 – Audit Scotland

Student numbers have been fallen by 1,911 since 2008 says Audit Scotland. Part-time student numbers are down 50% in Shetland. These figures emerged at today (Wednesday’s) meeting of Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, a committee member pressed the Scottish Government on the £50 million funding cut to Scotland’s colleges at today’s meeting.

Tavish Scott said:

“£50 million has been cut from the college budget according to Audit Scotland. Now we know the consequences of those Scottish Government cuts. Between 2008/9 and 2013/13 there has been a 50% reduction in the number of part time students in Shetland. 1,911 student places have been lost. That has had a major impact on many people. Women in particular use part-time courses and these government cuts have meant less opportunity for people returning to the workplace or retraining. The impact of these cuts in the Highlands & Islands has been greatest in Shetland. No other college across the UHI has lost 50% of its part time student numbers.

“Holyrood’s Public Audit committee will do further work on these worrying figures. The government and the Scottish Funding Council have claimed that everyone at college is happy with the huge changes to the sector that have been forced through. But today at the Committee, both admitted that no research had been done into the impact on people who could not access a part time place in Shetland or across Scotland. Yet we know that the impact on students, on the Shetland economy and on many families is all too clear from these government decisions.”

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