If proposals from consultants KPMG are implemented, the shake-up will rank alongside the "adapting to change" policy for shutting schools in the 1980s and the privately funded reorganisation of Glasgow's secondary schools.
The report, published yesterday (Thursday), was commissioned by the Glasgow Colleges Group and the Scottish Further Education Funding Council. There will now be a period of intensive consultations and the funding council can be expected to bang some heads together.
The council is known to be keen on rationalisation before sanctioning a capital investment programme. But curricular overlap is "marginal and not an argument for closures, the report states.
It presents four options and endorses one which will create a central college out of the "Cathedral Street" enclave (the colleges of Building and Printing, Food Technology and Commerce) and four to serve the north-east (North Glasgow and John Wheatley), north-west (Anniesland and Stow), south-east (Langside and Nautical Studies) and south-west (Cardonald). Since the funding council and KPMG believe mergers will only be effective if agreed between "consenting adults", the attitudes of college principals and their boards will be crucial.
Ros Micklem, principal of Cardonald, who chairs the Glasgow Colleges Group, would say only that the report "will provide a useful contribution to discussion".