Inspectors have found serious failings in college business and management courses including out-of-touch teaching and course material, writes Alan Thomson.
A Further Education Funding Council inspection report said that, while much of the teaching was competent, many lessons lacked purpose, staff lacked up-to-date commercial and industrial experience, libraries lacked books and that many students drop out while others fail their exams.
The report is a blow to further education colleges which have tried hard to meet the growing demand for business, administration and management courses with diminishing financial resources.
Colleges estimate a 28 per cent increase in business students between 1994/95 and 1998/99. In addition, they have had to incorporate the new national vocational and general national vocational qualifications into curricula.
The report said that, while most staff were well qualified for the work they did, many were new to the role and were inadequately trained.
It says that a common weakness was the lack of commercial and industrial experience among full-time lecturers. Opportunities to update knowledge were limited and, even if they were provided, few lecturers take advantage.