Plans to form a new super college from four existing education sites in Scotland, will create extra places for students and better meet educational requirements, according to college officials.
The officials made the assurances at NFU Scotland’s Council meeting in Perth last week to allay fears that budgetary concerns were the driver behind the plan.
The merger of SAC and colleges at Elmwood in Fife, Oatridge in West Lothian and Barony in Dumfries and Galloway would correct the imbalance in the types of courses currently on offer, the SAC added.
Leaders of all four colleges made presentations to union delegates and outlined the deficiencies of the current situation.
They listed the shortfall in provision, the need for more practical skills training and an “imbalance” in provision which meant agricultural education was declining while less practical courses absorbed funding.
SAC vice-principal, Prof David McKenzie, outlined some of the ambitions of his college, which included growing numbers from 774 to 1,200 by 2020 and expanding the current three campuses.
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “There is a welcome commitment that the focus of the new super college structure will be on agriculture and the rural economy.
“[But] looking at the proposals, it is unclear that any mechanisms to lock in and develop the many real strengths in the present establishments have been engineered into the proposed new structure. We fear that the future strategy is incomplete and risks fixing structures that limit the capability of a knowledge-based rural economy.”
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