Leading article: College SOS

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The Independent Online

The funding crisis in further-education colleges was highlighted last week when more than 200 principals, lecturers and students held a rally at the House of Commons.

The funding crisis in further-education colleges was highlighted last week when more than 200 principals, lecturers and students held a rally at the House of Commons. The Association of Colleges delegation told ministers that although two-thirds of all 16- to 18-year-olds are educated in colleges, these institutions receive at least 10 per cent less funding than schools. They argue that funding problems have left colleges unable to pay decent salaries to lecturers, and forced them to reject local students in favour of fee-paying foreign ones. Ministers depend on colleges to help them to transform secondary education. Disaffected 14- to 16-year-olds will be able to attend work-based lessons in colleges under Labour's plans. But the scheme is doomed to failure if there are no funds to run the courses. Colleges must be given more money now.

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