Wednesday, 27 May 2009

College Cuts - A Scandal

Today, a guest author, Tim Thomas, writes:

Cymru X has always battled hard with the injustice of tuition fees and the proposal of top up fees, which will create financial hardship for many low income families and students across Wales. However, there are a number of funding issues in both higher and further education, which are causing great concern.

We are in the midst of a terrible financial meltdown, created by Gordon Brown's lack of financial control and regulation, which favoured London and the South East. As a result, Jane Hutt, the Education Minister announced funding cuts to Welsh colleges. In total there will be a £3m cut to further education, which has led to protests from lecturers and students outside the Senedd.

In my local area of Bridgend, Bridgend College will suffer a £300k reduction in finance, which will lead to inevitable cuts in jobs and courses for the 15,000 strong students on the college's books. Furthermore, in Bridgend there is a high percentage of the unemployed from young people. I am very concerned with how young people will be trained to help them find work during these difficult times. The cuts have already led to the termination of A level courses mid way through student's courses in Bridgend and further cuts to language courses may be announced.

Bridgend College is not alone in this terrible news, indeed the reduction in funding will cause hardship to colleges across the whole of Wales. In fact, Bridgend College is in a more healthy position than some other colleges. Despite an increase in the number of 16-18 year old activity in courses at Yale College, Wrexham, funding has been decreased by over 7% Furthermore, funding cuts has led to angry demonstrations from students from Coleg Sir Gar

I would urge all to lobby their local Plaid representatives with their concerns on this issue. A Facebook group has been set up where a petition can be signed to lobby WAG over the closure of A level courses in Bridgend.

Tim Thomas was last year's CymruX vice-chair and still plays a very active part in Plaid Cymru. He is standing for the party in the Bridgend local elections.

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