Around 170 students with special needs could be left in limbo following a decision by Fife College to scrap its Adult Programme courses.
The announcement, issued by letter to students recently, will see the popular programme replaced after the summer with ‘Community Skills’ courses designed to help students gain SQAs and seek employment.
But the decision has outraged students, carers and professionals who accused the college of discrimination at a series of crisis meetings held in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes earlier this week.
One support worker (60) said: “There are 170 people on the adult programme and they’ve all got special needs of some sort. Only around ten per cent would be able to manage to do the new course.
“I know several who go two to three times a week for cookery, art, music and computing, which help them gain life and community skills. What are they going to do now- sit in the house?
“We understand the college is a place of learning but what about people who can’t come out the other end and get a job? They still have a right to a basic education!”
A number of students approached MP Lindsay Roy, who has written to the principle, Hugh Logan, to ask whether funding prompted the change and he requested an urgent meeting to discuss the implications.
Meanwhile, a Fife College spokesman said it reviewed its courses on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of “students, employers and the community.”
“While the current courses have given students social and life skills, they do not focus on the college’s priorities of employability and/or progression,” he said.
“Our re-designed ‘Communnity Skills’ programme will allow students to gain qualifications which are focused on preparing for employment and learners will be able to access this course for up to two years.
“We are working closely with Fife Council’s Adult Services to assist learners in planning for progression beyond college.’’
He added: “We are aware that some of our current learners benefit from non-certificated courses to enhance their life-skills and we are in discussion with Fife Council and other partners to take this forward.”