Most needy lose out on further education

12th October 2007 at 01:00
Thousands of Scots are being denied the chance to go to college or university every year because there are not enough places, ministers have been told.

The majority of Scotland's colleges could fill their places three times over, Howard McKenzie, acting chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Colleges, told the Scottish Parliament's education committee last week. Those missing out, most of whom are aged 16 to 24, end up attending "college inertia" instead, entering low-paid work or going on benefits, he added.

The consequences were wider than the direct impact on unsuc-cessful candidates, he pointed out, and if Scotland wanted a know-ledge-based economy, it needed to up-skill its population.

"For every four applications, we reject three because we don't have the places," said Mr McKenzie, who is also principal of Jewel and Esk Valley College in Edinburgh. "Places have been capped for seven years. At my college, we get 6,500 full-time applications for 2,200 places. At least 5,000 people a year across Scotland who apply for two or three courses don't get any and disappear out of the system.

"Unfortunately, they are the least organised and least capable and the ones that need us most. They are the ones whose skills are low who have poor literacy and numeracy and whom we need to pick up and try to engage in the economy."

David Caldwell, director of Universities Scotland, the body which represents HE principals, called for more funding to allow universities to accept more students.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now