Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Row as Stranmillis University College teaching college

A Northern Ireland teaching college has been heavily criticised for dumping thousands of valuable books into skips.

 

Redevelopment work is currently under way on the library at Stranmillis University College in Belfast.

As part of that work, hordes of the institution's books have been removed from its library with college chiefs keen on the increased use of electronic books.

However, rather than sell the books or give them to schools or charities, they have been simply thrown into huge industrial skips and dumped.

A member of staff at the college told the Belfast Telegraph he was furious at the move, claiming one set he found buried was valued in the region of £2,500.

He said he trawled through one of the skips this week and unearthed valuable copies of much-sought after publications he claimed were worth hundreds of pounds.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these books were simply being turfed into a skip," he said.

"Many of these books provide valuable research material for students.

"Given the financial constraints on the education system they could have sold them, of that I have no doubt.

"If the college didn't want them I've no doubt there are plenty of others who would have put them to good use.

"Some may be dated, but they are as relevant now as they were when written."

The Department of Employment and Learning provided £9.3m funding to Northern Ireland's five teacher training institutions in 2011-12.

Stranmillis College and St Mary's College received £3.8m and £3.7m respectively.

In 2011-12, funding allocated to Stranmillis College per student per year was 38% above English and Northern Ireland's universities.

Chair of Stormont's education committee, Mervyn Storey, hit out at the dumping of the books. "I think they could have found a better home for them than a skip," he said.

"It's public money at stake here. Somebody needs to explain how they came to the conclusion the best way to dispose of these books was in this way.

"I think it's a disgrace."

The Belfast Telegraph contacted Stranmillis College yesterday regarding the dumping of the books but it declined to comment.

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