Just good friends: Dundee and Abertay say merger is off the cards

The universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee have issued a joint statement with the Scottish Funding Council asserting that they will not merge.

November 18, 2011

Along with Dundee College, which also offers higher education in the city, the institutions agreed that they would “remain autonomous and independent bodies, with distinctive missions, visions and values”.

The statement was issued following a request by the SFC in September that the two universities discuss the possibility of merger.

This came after the publication of a pre-legislative agenda by the Scottish government which said that there was “room for some consolidation” in the country’s higher education system and highlighted “overlaps in provision” in some cities.

The suggestion of merger had provoked a hostile reaction from Abertay, which said it represented an “unprecedented degree of direction” from the government, while Dundee emphasised the “significant differences” between the institutions.

After a “very open and positive discussion”, the institutions said yesterday that they will “look at how to align more closely the academic curricula of the three institutions”.

Starting with life sciences and sports education, they said this would help to create a “seamless learner progression” from further education to higher education.

“In addition, Dundee College will welcome opportunities for closer collaboration with other colleges in the region,” the statement says.

In 2009–10, Abertay had 4,200 higher education students, while Dundee had almost 16,200.

Responding to this week’s statement, Michael Russell, the Scottish education secretary, told the Press Association that “this is precisely the kind of collaborative thinking that lies behind the Scottish government's post-16 agenda”.

“I am delighted to see three institutions of such repute cementing their relationship in such a way that will improve the delivery of further and higher education locally but also have a bearing on Scotland's international reputation for excellence in education,” he added.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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