List 'lottery' decried

May 22, 1998

Up to 60,000 college students will suffer from the withdrawal of courses after more changes to the list of government-approved training qualifications, a report from the Association of Colleges says.

Last month, more than 1,600 vocational courses were removed from the government's list of qualifications eligible for public funding in 1998-99. An AoC survey has warned that this will mean a Pounds 14 million loss for the further education sector.

Colleges have said the annual changes to the Schedule 2(a) list, decried as a "confusing and illogical" lottery, will threaten government plans to widen participation.

Three quarters of colleges said they had been hit by the revision. More than 3,700 courses have had to be withdrawn. Nine out of ten of the affected colleges said the withdrawal had damaged quality and their ability to widen participation.

The AoC, which is fighting the process, is due this week to meet officials at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which will assume responsibility for compiling the lists. Its chief executive, Nick Tate, has indicated that he intends to improve the system.

Judith Norrington, AoC's director of curriculum and quality, said: "I welcome Nick Tate's assurances that there will be better planning, but we still hope that some of this year's decisions might be undone."

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