A CONSULTATION into the merger of three Lanarkshire colleges has gotten underway.
Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and Motherwell Colleges have announced the launch of a public consultation, seeking peoples’ views on their proposals to merge and create a new Lanarkshire-wide institution.
The proposed Lanarkshire merger was proposed previously but dismissed so that Cumbernauld College could remain independent, but keep in a close partnership with other Lanarkshire colleges. However, now the merger being proposed includes Cumbernauld College and is part of a national shake-up, with Lanarkshire becoming one of twelve college regions, in Scotland.
Robin Parker, president of student union NUS Scotland, said: "It’s encouraging that these colleges are consulting with students and staff ahead of their planned summer merger.
"However, it’s extremely important that this consultation not be just a tick-box exercise, but one that actually seeks the views of a range of students and incorporates those views to make the new college much more responsive to students’ needs.
"It’s crucial that when the merger process is finished that local access, student places and teaching quality are protected.
"We must also see the student voice at the new college strengthened which can be accomplished by providing the students’ association the resources it needs to best represent its members.
"If this merger is to deliver positive results for students in the west of Scotland, students must be involved every step of the way to ensure the focus remains on improving education quality."
As part of a nationwide transformation of college education, the Scottish Government expects that the restructuring will save Scotland's colleges around £50m per year and avoid the duplication of services across the board..
Michael Russell, Scottish Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning said: “I warmly welcome the colleges’ commitments to better align their services with the needs of both learners and employers in the region.
“It is important that any merger is informed by the communities across the region and that they are involved in this process.
“I would encourage all those with a stake in this important discussion to take advantage of the consultation to express their views.”
The consultation into the proposed merger of Cumbernauld, Motherwell and Coatbridge colleges will run until March 22nd, where they will then speak to staff, students and stakeholders.
Anyone wishing to take part in the consultation can visit the New College Lanarkshire website, email email@example.com or write to Freepost RSCG-REAE-CYXS, Merger Consultation, 1 Enterprise Way, Motherwell, ML1 2TX.
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