Russell must demonstrate he can respond to college sector concerns

After Liberal Democrat calls to the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament will hold a fresh debate on college funding tomorrow (Thursday 22nd).

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, Liam McArthur MSP, has put forward an amendment to the Government’s motion noting that confidence in the Education Secretary, not least within the college sector, has been severely shaken.

Mr McArthur is calling on Mike Russell to restore confidence by taking urgent steps to change his approach to the sector, including giving an urgent indication that the Scottish Government will revise its 2013-14 budget to prevent a cut to college funding.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Mr McArthur said:

“Mr Russell’s credibility as Scotland’s Education Secretary has been seriously damaged. As he admitted to parliament yesterday, Mr Russell has no-one to blame but himself for this state of affairs.

“He must now prove that he is listening to concerns in the college sector and is willing to take the steps needed to address those concerns. This fresh debate on Scotland’s colleges provides an opportunity for him to try to rebuild confidence within the college sector.

"For this to happen, however, he must make clear his willingness to reverse his funding cuts, re-consider the pace and extent of college mergers and protect the quality of course provision.

“Scotland’s colleges and the 300,000 students they support expect and deserve nothing less.”