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Proposal to create Isle of Man College and University Centre 17 July 2007

A PROPOSAL to combine the Isle of Man College and the International Business School is going out for consultation.

A merger would create the Isle of Man College and University Centre. Higher Education provision would operate from The Nunnery site and the site in Homefield Road, Douglas, the location of the Isle of Man College, would continue to provide Community, Further and Vocational Education.

Both establishments offer degree and other higher education courses at present. If the proposal was accepted, the Isle of Man College and University Centre would come into existence in September 2008.

A review has identified an acute shortage of accommodation at the Isle of Man College, which has seen rising demand for space as the number of full-time students grows and vocational training is provided for some 500 Year 10 and 11 pupils at secondary schools. Meanwhile, there is some spare capacity at the International Business School, the consultation paper says.

Under the proposal, higher education students from both establishments would be based at The Nunnery, which would become a ‘centre of excellence in higher education and professional training that will help to drive the Manx economy and quality of life for the Island community’.

If the merger goes ahead, unified terms and conditions would be drawn up for Isle of Man College and IBS lecturers, who are on different terms and conditions of employment. Facilities such as a library and canteen would need to be created at The Nunnery.

The Centre for Manx Studies, a post-graduate teaching and research unit of the University of Liverpool currently struggling for space at its premises in Kingswood Grove, Douglas, and the Manx Heritage Foundation, set up by an Act of Tynwald to support and promote Manx culture and employing four staff, would also be accommodated at The Nunnery.

The consultation paper states that it was part of the Department’s long-term strategy, in purchasing The Nunnery estate, that a higher education campus be set up.

The creation of the University Centre would build on the good reputations of both the Isle of Man College and the International Business School, add a further element to the Freedom to Flourish agenda and significantly enhance the reputation of the Isle of Man in the global community.

The document adds that a University Centre would encourage more people to study for higher education qualifications ‘with associated benefits, not only for the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education on the Island but also for the range of viable courses, professional training and research that may be offered for the benefit of the Manx people’.

Its creation would allow new and more varied courses to be developed to meet the Island’s present and future needs, the paper goes on.

The consultation paper states:

‘The University Centre would provide a physical presence and an academic community delivering an on-Island university experience for Manx students.’

Among those being consulted are Members of Tynwald, Chief Executives of all Government Departments, the Boards of Governors and staff of both the Isle of Man College and the International Business School, secondary school head teachers and others who may be affected by the proposal.

Comments should be returned to Director of Education John Cain by August 10. The Department will consider the proposal and the responses in September.

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