Plans have been published for a merger between three Edinburgh colleges potentially creating a ‘super college’.
The proposals were put forward to the Scottish government by the city’s Telford, Stevenson and Jewel and Esk Colleges last week.
The plans come amidst a nationwide reorganisation of higher education facilities in a bid to help cut costs.
The individual boards of the three colleges approved the business case and merger proposal for submission to the Scottish Government in late March.
The new college will be named Edinburgh College and, if approved, has a planned vesting day of 1 October 2012.
As well as cutting costs, a potential merger will open a range of possibilities for college education in Edinburgh. A statement on the Stevenson College website says: “The merger will ensure that, given the constraints and challenges of the economic and public funding environment, the new college will maintain and, where appropriate, enhance the services currently provided. Building on educational, commercial and international successes of the partner colleges.”
Over the past year, the Scottish Government have held a number of consultations and released publications outlining their aim for educational reform the country.
Education Secretary Mike Russell told MSPs in a statement last year: “Ideally I would wish to see emerge regional groupings of colleges, with a spread of specialist, higher-level and access-level provision delivered locally, greater collaboration between universities, with the possibility of mergers where that makes educational and financial sense."
The merger comes as the government revealed the need for budget cuts to colleges earlier this year. Colleges across Scotland have voiced concern that they will struggle to meet costs in the next educational year. However, participants in this new merger are hopeful that it will ensure a more stream-lined approach to college education in Scotland as well as being more economically viable.
Jim Ewing, chair of the three colleges’ Merger Partnership Board, said: “Working together as one college will provide more opportunities for students, staff and the community, and reflects the growing desire of the Scottish Government for colleges to work together to deliver a smarter, more economical model going forward.”