Edinburgh College (Student Numbers)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27 January 2016.

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Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

8. To ask the Scottish Government how many students attended Edinburgh College in November 2015 and how this compares with November 2012. (S4O-05481)

Photo of Angela Constance Angela Constance Scottish National Party

The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council is responsible for collecting participation data. Figures for the current academic year, 2015-16, will be published in January 2017.

Photo of Malcolm Chisholm Malcolm Chisholm Labour

Is the cabinet secretary concerned that what was the largest college in Scotland at the time of merger has had declining numbers ever since? It is a decline that seems to be being managed by the college, as it has handed back £3 million to the Scottish funding council this year because it did not get the anticipated number of students. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the college is introducing a new enrolment procedure, which seems likely to make the problem even worse.

Will the cabinet secretary take a close look at what is happening at the college and strive to reverse that decline?

Photo of Angela Constance Angela Constance Scottish National Party

I assure the member that I am taking a close look at Edinburgh College and that the Scottish funding council has already given practical and indeed financial support.

The news of the difficulties that are being experienced by the college, whether in regard to finances or the number of students that it is attracting, is disappointing. I understand that Edinburgh College is working with the funding council to ensure that the college continues to offer a high-quality education for students. That will of course help to grow the local economy.

I have indicated the support that the funding council has already given. The funding council will continue to support the college in making the changes and improvements that are needed in both the short and medium term.