Experience has shown that moves towards privatisation damage public services.
With very few exceptions, Scottish colleges are democratically accountable and Shetland's students and community deserve to be treated in the same way.
Shetland College, Train Shetland and the North Atlantic Fisheries College Marine Centre are in the process of merging. The Ministerial Merger Business Case is due to go to Shetland Islands Council imminently for decision on the recommendation that Shetland College is outsourced to a new College.
The recommendation is that this new College is, in fact, a private company limited by guarantee.
This would be the first time in Scotland that a college has been transferred from public ownership and control into a private company.
EIS members are not opposed to the merger in principle, but are opposed to privatisation of our public education, whether it is for profit or for the build-up of reserves. EIS-FELA members are calling on Shetland Islands Council to ensure that publicly funded education is kept in public hands, looking beyond current economic circumstances to provide long-term quality education and stability for students.
The diversity of the curriculum and opportunities on offer to students should not be determined by financial considerations, but by educational merit.
24 February 2021
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