Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Scotland’s higher education needs serious reform; the Scottish Funding Council needs split into two separate bodies, so college sector can expand!
We all recognise that having an educated population is essential for any country; education doesn’t just benefit the individual but the community as a whole.
However, there is going to be a massive cut in money available to continue on the present road.
The status quo has got to go.
The real problem with higher education is that there has never been serious reform or scrutiny of it by politicians.
Because to some extent some politicians are star struck!
And so we have arrived at a funding crisis because no one was asking the right questions.
Universities were allowed to grow their own little mini empires and fiefdoms but the brains to manage that growth wasn’t there in depth.
And you can certainly add to that a culture of cronyism in higher education which goes beyond an institution.
Where to go and what to reform is the first issue.
The Scottish Funding Council is the first port of call in higher education reform.
These characters distributes about £1.5 billion in funding each year of our money for teaching and learning, research and other activities in Scotland's colleges and universities.
The Funding Council needs to be split into two separate bodies.
One that caters for Universities and the other which does colleges!
Because of the domination of vested interests at the Scottish Funding Council have left a situation that has left colleges underfunded despite the vast numbers of students they teach.
Also the ‘Scottish College Funding Council’ should ban any academic of a university institution from being on their board.
Having split the Scottish Funding Council, we can then move on to stage two, reform of higher education.
In stage two, we have to recognise that universities are a massive financial drain but given closure isn’t a political option, then slimming down is.
Entire departments and courses should be moved downwards into the college sector because it is more cost effective.
And we need more people taught per head for our ‘tax dollar’; colleges offer that options.
So, as universities slim down, the college sector expands.
Now, we come to radical thinking, we need a fourth tier inserted in Scottish education, the community college.
Community Colleges would be a are a new way forward being based in schools so that they become dual use.
Community colleges would be run by councils and this allows a revenue stream to be created..
At present schools at night remain for the most part empty, too valuable a resource to not be utilised.
And with some schools closing, it would allow Teachers job opportunities thereby retain their skills.
By stripping out universities, we also ensure their future.
The current university strategy is trying to maintain the status quo in all aspects but the truth is; the current model has had its day.
We can keep propping it up, but sooner or later; four tier education will find favour because if lack of money doesn’t kill the present system; then stupidity will.
Four tier education set up properly will allow for a maximum uptake of students at a better cost per head ratio.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University