Student protest over college ‘disruption’

Student protest outside Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable
Student protest outside Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable

A PUBLIC protest has been staged in Dunstable by college students over a move they say has led to disruption.

Some Central Bedfordshire College students say swapping departments from Houghton Regis to Dunstable left them with no designated rooms.

College principal Ali Hadawi said there had been “teething” issues for some students and he appreciated that there had been communication problems.

But he said the college had picked up on the problem, meetings had been held and the team was ensuring there would be no impact on students’ success.

The students said problems arose after courses were moved from Houghton’s Kingsland campus to Dunstable.

Mr Hadawi said areas at Kingsland were vacated to allow work to proceed on preparations for Houghton’s new university technical college.

Barbering student Victoria Bell, 26, of Houghton Regis, said: “I feel that our education has not been considered during the move.”

She said a lesson after Easter was cancelled, and no room was set aside for the next session.

“We actually found a computer classroom we could use but there was nowhere provided for us,” she said. “We were more spread-out and there were other students around.

“It’s very hard to have a lesson with other people around who don’t take your course.”

She claimed that students on hair and beauty and other courses had been affected.

And she said: “We were promised we would have somewhere to work and we have nowhere.”

She has taken other courses at the college and says this is the first time she has experienced a problem.

Mr Hadawi said the problem was “very unfortunate” and emphasised: “Our students are very, very important to us”.

He said: “With a move of this size, teething issues like this do happen.

“I would say that communication has not worked well in terms of keeping students up to date, especially when you are a student who has come to a different site and you don’t know your way around.

“I appreciate that has not worked well.”

But he said: “We are making sure that no student will be affected negatively.”

Mr Hadawi said arrangements were now in place for the classes. Improvements were planned for facilities at Dunstable.

And the college principal said that the university technical college was “very positive news” for the area.