The future of Scottish higher education

The Herald newspaper has published a strongly worded editorial calling for the retention in Scotland of the principle of free higher education. The paper argues that the ‘real crisis’ is not the financial position of the universities, but the debt burden that could be loaded on graduates if there were tuition fees. The editorial also suggests that tuition fees amount to the ‘privatisation’ of higher education.

Again, this is an interesting contribution to national debate, but the paper seems to be curiously unconcerned with university finances, arguing that the universities must simply adjust:

‘Universities in Scotland may have to cut their cloth; they have done so in the past.’

I would certainly agree that the impact of funding mechanisms on students and graduates is important; but the capacity of society to provide adequate resources to ensure that higher education is internationally competitive is not a minor consideration, and deserves more attention than the Herald seems to think necessary.

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8 Comments on “The future of Scottish higher education”

  1. Fred Says:

    This is very similar to what the English universities had named as “providing more for less”. While I would prefer to see something interesting from the Scot. gonverment in terms of university funding, universities finances should be very seriously considered under any proposal. If we want any debate about Scottish higher education, we first of all need open (ie non bankrupt) universities.

  2. iainmacl Says:

    Good for the Herald. A very rare example of them actually being in tune with what the Scottish people value. 😉 And in stark contrast to their slavish support for New Labour/old Tory at election time.

  3. copernicus Says:

    “‘Universities in Scotland may have to cut their cloth; they have done so in the past.’ As for RGIT, the predecesor of RGU, this was in early 1980s when RGIT was compact and was recruiting locally. Same case with many polytechnics. Unfortunately the Scottish universities have expanded (like English ones); one only has to see RGU (RGIT) U of West of Scotland (Paisley), Glasgow Caledonian (Glasgow College of Technology) for example which have added 50-60%% more to their early 1980 size, and could their oversisized cloth to size? U of Abedeen’s Engineering department size has quadrupled now from their days at Marischal College site.

  4. iainmacl Says:

    An alternative funding model was provided in the TES last week, nicely made point!

    “Yes, there should be a graduate tax – but just for the ‘charmed generations’ aged between 45 and 70”

  5. copernicus Says:

    U of Aberdeen Engineering department if it cut to size to the level when it was housed in Marischal College in Aberdeen in early 1980s, it had 1 professor, 2/3 senior lecturers and about 5-6 lecturers, to the level later in 1980s when it moved to King’s site- probably 2 professors, 4 senior lecturers and about 8-9 lecturers.

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