Boyack plea over college merger plans

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LOTHIANS Labour MSP Sarah Boyack has called on the Scottish Government to “come clean” on any plans for mergers between universities and colleges in and around Edinburgh.

Her demand followed Education Secretary Mike Russell’s statement to parliament that he wanted “greater collaboration between universities with the possibility of mergers where that makes educational and financial sense”.

Ms Boyack said: “The Minister’s statement will set alarm bells ringing in University Scotland, in the city of Edinburgh and across the Lothians.

“Mike Russell wants the Scottish Funding Council to draw up a hit list of where mergers can take place. He also wants to increase his powers so that when the list is produced those on it will be required to work with the Scottish Funding Council to make them happen.

“In cities like Edinburgh, where there is more than one university and college, there is a clear threat that merger proposals will be brought forward. If that is Mike Russell’s plan we need to know now. If he believes Scotland has too many universities and colleges he should say so.”