Monday, February 7, 2011

Craig Thomson, vice chairman of the Commission on Higher Education moves towards George Laird radical thinking, more use of college sector

Dear All

Awhile ago, I wrote a post on the solution to the current crisis facing higher education in Scotland, which I have also touched on other posts.

The solution to the funding crisis is exact what I wrote on Thursday the 4th of November 2010 when I said:

“The only way to protect Scottish education is to shrink the university sector and transferred funds to the college sector which produces a better ratio of money spent to students taught”.

You can read my original post by clicking on this link.

Now, Craig Thomson and the new Commission on Higher Education seems to be taking on George Laird radical thinking because they say that it is critically important the debate widens to include the significant positive social and economic impact of college-based higher education.

George Laird was right again.

Effectively, the Commission is saying that the college sector is less developed and utilised as it should.

The reason for this is the Scottish Funding Council, they are the problem.

People who dominate the Scottish Funding Council have a vested interested in maintaining the status quo.

They are from senior positions in the university sector.

Higher education is like the banking sector, two ethos are running, on the one hand you have the retail sector (teaching of students) and on the other ‘casino banking’ (research).

‘Casino banking’ (research) is killing the university sector.

For most that enter higher education, the student body, they do so because they want a qualification that will help secure them a job, subsequently they do not go further on in higher education.

Many current university courses should be moved lock, stock and barrel into the college sector.

Universities should be completely reformed and slimmed down.

The Scottish Funding Council should have wider range of people sitting on it who are free of vested interest.

The current situation is unsustainable because the time has come to end fiefdoms and mini empires that the university sector has created, a new regulator body is needed to oversee and approve university plans.

An example of bad planning was the Crichton campus were the human rights abusing Glasgow University went empire building only to run into trouble.

Before it was built I knew it was going to go sideways because being at Glasgow University I knew the people as I pottered around the uni campus.

To recap, universities need to be slimmed down, money and entire departments/courses transferred to the college sector, this is the route of sustainability.

Craig Thomson is principal of Adam Smith College, Fife, and vice chairman of the Commission on Higher Education.

And in some respects he is on the right track, albeit he is 3 months behind George Laird.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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