Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Labour Party says higher ed cuts are 'SNP's legacy to students', SNP Gov paralysed over indy need to start reforms now, the task of second SNP term

Dear All

Being in Government isn’t easy but it helps if you have vision and the ability to plan.

The SNP Government has done well in certain regards, but it is now entering a time where they will be forced to make hard choices.

What does that mean?

It means that the SNP will be making choices; who will lose out under their administration?

The days of the easy ride are drawing to a close.

Higher education like justice isn’t a flagship policy; it is another area where the SNP struggle to have a competent policy.

Tinkering with the edges has led to crisis.

Money has been cut by Westminster and shit travels downhill in the main, Westminster cuts Holyrood, Holyrood cuts Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Funding Council cuts College funding.

And the ordinary working class Scots lose out.

But there is a way to fix this, not the Mike Russell way, the George Laird way.

Major overhaul, split the Scottish Funding Council into two distinct bodies, next slim down the university sector, transfer entire department and courses to colleges.

Expand the college sector which has a better ratio of cash to student per head.

Set a review of higher education research, the black hole in universities to weed out crap research and where necessary shut down these unproductive departments.

As the full impact of not doing reform hits, the Scottish Government has been accused of letting down students.

Half of colleges have cut courses.

Whose fault is that?

It is the fault of the SNP Government, just as the SNP basks in the good times, the rain has now started for them, monsoon season is coming and instead of planning for the worst, the SNP haven’t even bought an umbrella.

The Labour Party has revealed that 23 out of 38 colleges who responded to a freedom of information (FoI) request have cut courses in 2011/12.

That number will rise; we are entering a time where independence isn’t the issue of this parliament but local government reform.

Every day that this is delayed by the SNP in favour of spinning and talking about indy, is a wasted opportunity.

Alex Salmond and his government are like a group appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, they want to keep singing the same song repetitively.

After a while people will tune out, spin cannot replace substance and independence is all about substance.

Spin is something that the cronies around Salmond and Sturgeon have in great supply but when it comes to substance they are pretty much Scotland’s Not Got Talent.

We should see more of that in the public domain soon enough.

People want to know why their sons and daughters can’t get a higher education, bleeting its free isn’t any comfort if you can’t get in.

In highlight the problem, the Labour Party found out that in the previous year the teaching budget to colleges was reduced by 10.4% as part of wider public funding cuts.

At that point, a major review should have been commissioned and wasn’t, no one is willing to do the work and importantly no one knows what to do.

Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour's education spokesman, said the cuts were the SNP's "legacy to students".

Henry added:

"Given the sustained damage to college budgets from the SNP Government, it is inevitable that colleges would have to cut courses and it leaves students with fewer options. Given the forced mergers we are seeing all over Scotland, this raises serious questions about access to education if courses are being centralised away from local colleges. It has never been harder for young people to get work and colleges have an important role in giving them the skills they need to get into a tough labour market."

The forced mergers plan is a run on from Scottish National Police Force idea, however in this case; the SNP wrongly thought this was the way forward.

Academic ignorance and a red flag of the problems that sit directly behind Salmond regarding talent!

Some have it, but many more certainly don’t.

The FoI request by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) also flagged up 541 academic staff took voluntary redundancy in 2011/12 and 51 were forced out by compulsory redundancy.

David Besley, EIS, said the responses showed the adverse effects of the 10.4% cut.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said:

"From 2007 until the end of the spending review period we will have invested £4.7 billion in colleges, 40% more than in 1999-2007."

Can’t get justice in Scotland under the Scottish Government, can’t get an education in Scotland under the Scottish Government.

Alex Salmond is in danger of finding that far from delivering independence; he is actually working his way towards the return of a Labour administration in Holyrood in 2016.

The SNP Government should be solving people’s problems but instead are stuck paralysed because of the independence referendum.

When exactly will the SNP learn from their mistakes?

Alex of the 1,000 days is running out of spin!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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