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Time to rethink closure plan

I am deeply concerned about Strathclyde University's proposal (13 May) to close its community education department under cost-cutting plans that will see a range of courses in education, music, geography and sociology disappear. If it goes ahead, it will leave west and central Scotland with no dedicated community education course.

YouthLink Scotland has received several letters and emails from its members and partner organisations opposing this closure and I have formally written to the Dean of Strathclyde University's humanities and social sciences faculty asking him to rethink the decision.

We are seeking the support of all MSPs for the university to rethink its position, and we have set up a Facebook page where people can sign up to our campaign against the closure.

Almost all of YouthLink Scotland's 100-plus member organisations employ staff who studied community education at Strathclyde. It is hard to believe such a decision has been taken using the spurious premise of a lack of research papers from the department.

In this economic climate, now is not the time to be cutting this course, the graduates of which will help fuel the recovery in some of the most impoverished communities in Scotland. This decision must be reversed for the long-term benefit of society in west central Scotland and beyond.

Jim Sweeney, chief executive, YouthLink Scotland.

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