Students win fight to stop course being axed

Fife College.
Fife College.

Students are celebrating this week after a college course which had been earmarked for closure was saved.

The college sited dwindling numbers as it proposed that the two-year HND Practical Journalism course be cut to just a single year with an HNC – meaning students already on their first year would not be able to gain the full qualification they’d signed up for.

The college claimed that students had been given fair warning earlier this year, however many students say they were only notified after they had already started the course.

But this week Fife College announced that it would allow the course to continue, following a series of meetings between college staff and students.

Alasdair Clark, a student on the course, said he was glad that the college took the concerns of the students on board.

“We are very pleased the college has reviewed their decision and will continue to deliver this course next year after engaging in a conversation with students,” he said.

“We hope that the industry will offer their help and support going forward to re-invigorate the course and increase interest from prospective students.”

It is understood that the course will be reviewed again next year.

A Fife College Spokesman said: “In June this year, Fife College decided to withdraw its HND course in Practical Journalism from 2018/19 due to a lack of demand for the course.

“The numbers on the course have been consistently low for several years making the course unsustainable financially.

“Students who enrolled on the HND course initially were made aware of this change in June, before the course began, with alternative options highlighted.

“Following recent representations from our students on the HNC Practical Journalism course, the college has decided to continue to run the HND for a further year into 2018/19, thereby enabling students to continue their studies in Fife.

“The college is making no commitment at this stage beyond 2018/19 but the decision to give continuity to our students will give the college time to work with the industry and other stakeholders to decide how the course can be reshaped and promoted in future years to ensure it attracts sufficient numbers of students to make it viable.”

Conservative education spokesman Councillor Kathleen Leslie, said: “I am absolutely delighted to learn that students on the Practical Journalism will now be able continue onto their second year and work towards the HND.

“Without the second-year students would not have had the opportunity to gain the NCTJ qualification which most print media are looking for when hiring.

Students from around Fife and Scotland believed they were setting-out on a two-year course and for them to have been told at this stage in the year that they would not be able to progress caused a great deal of uncertainty and was quite simply unacceptable.

Going to university is not the choice of many prospective students in Scotland and excessive cuts to college places in recent years, by the Scottish Government, has left fewer options available. Fife College has guaranteed this course for the 18/19 academic year, but what about beyond that? More funding has to be put into both continuing current courses and developing new college places for students in Scotland.”