Consultation over future of higher education

Published

Adam Campbell

The Scottish Government has published its Green Paper on the future of Higher Education in Scotland.

The publication of the paper sees the beginning of a period of consultation with various different bodies in order to find a Scottish Solution to higher education funding that is supported by the majority.

Concerns have been raised that Scotland is under pressure after Westminster voted in favour of a moderted form of the Browne Review Proposals in December.

However Education Secretary, Mike Russell, is keen to distance the Scottish Parliament from proposals that will be put in place South of the border.

He said: “Our tradition in Scotland is based on access determined by ability to learn, notability to pay. We reject the socially divisive view that students and graduates should be forced to take charge of their own education through tuition fees. I believe this approach would discriminate against the poorest, place barriers in the way of learning and would over time massively diminish the potential of Scottish society.

“I therefore believe the position taken by the Westminster Coalition is wrong for Scotland in three respects: It is wrong because it abdicates the state’s responsibility as the primary funder of higher education. It is wrong because it is based on a mistaken belief that the only beneficiary of higher education is the individual. And it is wrong, because when considered alongside other moves being made on levels of financial support available for students – such as abolishing the EMA in England – it will reduce the opportunities for those from the least well off backgrounds to improve their life chances by continuing to study once they leave school.”

Tommy Gore, President of the Students’’ Representative Council (SRC), welcomed the consultation process as an opportunity for Glasgow student concerns to be raised.

He explained: “The Scottish Government is currently consulting widely on the Green Paper – the SRC is taking an active part in the consultation sessions that are being held across the country, to make sure the interests of Glasgow students are best represented. Furthermore, we’re just beginning an extensive consultation process with students, to help inform the writing of our formal submission to the Green Paper.”