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FE Colleges in Wales Investigate Cost Cutting Measures to Save Millions

FE Colleges across Wales are holding talks to devise means by which millions of pounds spent on the costs of exams could be saved, it has been revealed.

One of the strategies they are hoping to adopt is purchasing jointly through the Welsh Further Education Purchasing Consortium (WFEPC). Through making use of this the colleges expect to save huge sums of public funds currently being spent on the costs of exams.

Highlighting some of the numerous benefits of the new approach, the chair of the WFEPC Mike Evans said: “The WFEPC went out to tender on the European Computer Driver’s Licence (ECDL) on behalf of all colleges in Wales. The result is a staggering 33 % average saving for each college which has taken up the offer so far.” He stressed further that joint purchasing and cooperation with the examinations boards could throw the doors open for many more achievements in this respect.

Setting up Exam Group

This, obviously, explains why the WFEPC is setting up an Exam Boards Group for college managers whose main objective is to further explore avenues by which costs could be cut on a range of examinations fees. In a reaction to this development the Chief Executive of the association of further education colleges and institutions in Wales, fforwm, John Graystone, said he is quite pleased that the WFEPC has made a breakthrough in cutting costs and that examinations boards can be convinced to work with colleges so as to achieve further efficiency reductions.

“The purpose of FE Colleges is to deliver a wider range of education and training to hundreds of thousands of learners each year,” Mr. Graystone said. “With a frozen budget settlements for FE colleges looming, colleges have to be all the more creative in making scarce public funds go further.” He added that FE colleges could make huge savings by cutting “behind-the-scenes” costs like exams fees so that there could be more money to teach, guide and support learners.

It is estimated that colleges spend nearly £9.5 million in total, each year, on examination fees on behalf of their learners. This initiative, by the WFEPC, is expected to substantially bring down these costs and significantly improve the quality of teaching and training, as more funds would be available.

Musa Aliyu

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