A SCOTTISH college has spent £50,000 sending its principal on an eight week management course at one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Paul Little, principal of City of Glasgow College, has taken part in an advanced management programme at Harvard Business School, in Boston.

The decision by the college board to approve the training programme for the principal, who earns £150,000, has provoked concern from some staff who questioned the legitimacy of the payment at a time of wider cuts.

One said: "There is nothing wrong with training, but this seems excessive at a time when courses are being cut in further education and staff are losing their jobs.

"To spend £50,000 on a training course at Harvard for one member of staff does not send out the right signals, particularly in the current climate. The length of time the principal has spent on the course also seems unnecessary."

However, the college defended the move saying no public money had been spent and that there was no known directly comparable course in the UK.

A college spokesman said: "As part of our commitment to offering staff opportunities in continuous professional development the principal is currently enrolled on the advanced management programme at Harvard Business School.

"Mr Little's participation in the course stands to benefit Scotland's further education sector as well as City of Glasgow College as it strives to confirm its position as a world leader in learning. The college is extremely proud of its principal for being accepted for such a prestigious course."

The college said the eight-week programme has developed more than 20,000 business leaders over the past 70 years.

It focuses on financial management, accounting and finance, leadership, strategy, marketing, negotiations, entrepreneurship, corporate governance and service excellence.

The spokesman added: "The cost of Mr Little's enrolment on the course is considered as an investment by the college board in its ambition to enhance City of Glasgow College's global vision.

"Mr Little's participation in this course was agreed and supported by the college board and the Glasgow Colleges' Regional Board and the Scottish Funding Council were advised of his enrolment. The full cost is being met by the £1 million surplus generated by the college's commercial activities and not from public funds."