Lecturers and students gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to protest against cuts to college funding. The rally, organised by teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) was aimed at highlighting the effects of budget cuts in the sector.
It was followed by a meeting between senior EIS members and Education Secretary Michael Russell, where two petitions on further education were presented.
The first was in protest against funding cuts, while the second related to the operation and management of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).
Funding for colleges was reduced by 10 per cent in 2011/12, with a further 10 per cent cut in the budget for 2012/13. The EIS has estimated that, with more cuts to come in future years, funding will be down by 36 per cent in real terms over the next four years.
President of the EIS Further Education Lecturers Association Penny Gower, said: “Scottish further education is under assault. At the very moment when the economic crisis means our young people need support, government cuts in funds for teaching will amount to 36 per cent in real terms over four years. Added to this there is a wholesale programme of mergers which is throwing almost every college into the turmoil of wholesale reorganisation.”