Central institution

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A central institution (CI) was a type of higher education institute in 20th and 21st century Scotland responsible for providing degree-level education but emphasising teaching rather than research. Some had a range of courses similar to polytechnics elsewhere in the United Kingdom while others were more specialised such as the art colleges and the conservatoire. Some subjects were not taught at central institutions, for example teacher training was only carried out by colleges of education, which later merged with universities.

Amongst the most common names for individual central institutions were college of agriculture, college of art, and institute of technology. Of the five colleges of technology, Napier and Glasgow eventually changed their names to include the word polytechnic, Paisley took the name Paisley College, while Dundee and Robert Gordon became institutes of technology. Another central institution, Leith Nautical College, Edinburgh, closed in 1987 by merger into the further education sector.

Academic degrees in central institutions were validated by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) until 1992.

Like the designation polytechnic, the term central institution is currently rarely used since most of these institutions entered the university sector in 1992 when the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 came into effect. Those universities are now referred to as post-1992 universities. The last central institution (the Scottish Agricultural College) entered the university sector formally in August 2008.

List of central institutions[edit]

The number of central institutions varied, but in 1988 the list included the following, several of which now have university status.


See also[edit]