Ministers neutral on funding merger

SCOTTISH Executive ministers have taken a neutral view of a merger between the further and higher education funding councils.

A review of the work of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, undertaken by Executive officials, urges continuing close collaboration between the two councils. "In the longer term, merger of the councils and creation of a tertiary education funding council could be beneficial."

There has been "an increasing blurring of the distinction between the sectors", the review states.

The Executive's official response agrees with the need for closer working arrangements and adds: "Comments concerning the longer term structure of the funding councils are noted."

Iain Gray, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, notes the opportunities for greater collaboration between FE and HE in areas such as access and student progression, "fully recognising that over a quarter of students choose to do HE in our further education colleges".

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