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The Scottish Executive announced a Valentine's day gift

* The Scottish Executive announced a Valentine's day gift for four colleges on Monday, confirming that they are to share in up to pound;35 million of capital funding to improve their properties.

Borders College has plans to relocate to a shared campus with Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels; Jewel and Esk Valley College wants to refurbish its Edinburgh campus and replace its premises near Dalkeith; James Watt College intends to extend its Kilwinning campus in North Ayrshire; and Falkirk and Clackmannan colleges to support their involvement in Stirling's disadvantaged Raploch area.

In total these plans are worth up to pound;60 million, which means the funding council is providing just over half the necessary support.

This week's allocation is a rolling programme of improvements, using significant injections of Scottish Executive funding over the next three years. Ministers have allocated pound;47.9 million for capital programmes this year, rising to pound;66 million in 2005-06 and pound;88 million in each of the two years thereafter.

Jim Wallace, Lifelong Learning Minister, said: "Students deserve to learn in the best possible environment." The latest investment would create "word class facilities".

Roger McClure, chief executive of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council, commented: "This is good not only for the students but for the businesses who need to work with colleges to help boost the economy."

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