Institute link to be rescued

April 19, 1996

Commonwealth education in Scotland is being rescued by Northern College of Education, following the Government's axing of the 40- year-old Commonwealth Institute Scotland as part of its budget cuts, writes Olga Wojtas.

Foreign and Commonwealth secretary Malcolm Rifkind has allowed the Edinburgh institute to transfer its accumulated savings of Pounds 143,000 to the college, and there are hopes that the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department may provide some future support.

Charles Carroll, the institute's retiring director, said: "My personal view is that this will be a renaissance, a phoenix rising from the ashes. Northern College has professional expertise in information technology, which we do not have, and in the next three or four years, I think its work will take off in a big way."

Bob Doig, who will head the new centre in Dundee, said it would be able to link schools throughout the Commonwealth via electronic conferencing, and send information to the hundreds of schools already connected to the Internet. It would also support Commonwealth work in higher education, and offer a valuable library resource. The Commonwealth Institute is itself fighting for survival due to fears it faces a shortened deadline to become self-financing. Its annual grant has been slashed from Pounds 2.7 million to Pounds 1 million.

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