Thursday, March 24, 2016
Nicola Sturgeon’s education crisis, Edinburgh College faces £3m deficit as SNP merger plans are put under the spotlight, 150,000 colleges places lost, staff face redundancies, poor deprived of an education and all to let Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP prop up a failed and unequal university sector
Recently I went to the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Glasgow, as a Conference it had pretty much the expected set up that party conferences run along, main event, fringe events and stalls for various organisation trying to catch the politicians eye.
The main reason I wanted to drop by was the item in the programme called the ‘big idea’. The big idea was an open forum for members to make their pitch for the ideas for the manifesto. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t a lot of ideas from ordinary members being brought forward, mostly the ideas came from candidates from the upcoming Holyrood election.
I stuck my hand and wasn’t picked, so what was my big idea?
It was for a radical reform of education in Scotland, at present we have three tier education, schools, colleges and universities. What we also know that is the poor have been failed by the education system and the people who run it at college and university level.
There is a lot of talk about policies to address the issue that not a lot of poor kids from disadvantaged backgrounds get into university.
Do you know why that is?
The reason cited is that poor kids don’t do well; in fact a policy idea of lower standards to let poorer kids into university has been floated as an idea to address this issue. The idea in my point is wrong and badly thought-out; it is also an admission of failure that there is both discrimination and lack of vision.
As far back as 2011 while in the SNP, I was blogging on a radical reform of education right across the board, the move to four tier education.
We are now sitting in 2016, we are still talking about helping the poor get into university; do you know why?
Because there has nothing real big being proposed to make a real difference, in the past, the Labour Party brought forward the NHS and the Welfare state, two major ideas after the second world war which radically made a difference to Britain.
In 2016, who is carrying on the work of Nye Bevan?
That is the type of template that the Labour Party must adopt if it is to win back voters and stand any chance of forming a government.
In Scotland under the SNP, the college sector has been decimated by circa 150,000 college places being lost; this has been largely ignored by the public as the SNP spin madly about college mergers.
The education system is in a mess, so much so at the recent SNP Conference, the Education Sec Angela Constance had the BBC no less kicked out of a fringe event at the Nationalist Conference.
I remember Angela Constance from my time at Glasgow University; she was heavily involved in the SRC, the Students Representative Council which for the most part the normal students ignored.
I was impressed even back then.
Edinburgh College is facing a financial crisis after slipping more than £3 million into the red.
In case you don’t know, the SNP have been bleeding the college sector dry in order to prop up the university sector, the end result is that colleges seen has the traditional route of out poverty for disadvantaged kids is decreasing and they are being frozen out of an education, social mobility and life chances.
Audit Scotland has clearly stated that Edinburgh College would face "extreme financial difficulties" unless it was given extra financial support to address the £3.3m shortfall. In comparison to universities, the college sector is poorly funded in comparison to a university.
In the article below from May 2013, I proposed that the Scottish Funding Council needs to be spilt into two separate entities:
Still putting forward ‘four tier education’; and how the university sector needs slimmed down and the college sector expanded, a good idea is always the right idea, no matter what the time it comes forward into the light of day.
Later on this week, I am going to a social event, normally I don’t even bother doing this type of politics even when I was in the SNP but I am going to float the idea of community colleges to Holyrood candidates.
I will make my pitch and see if I can get someone to either take on the idea or promote it for the Labour manifesto, the Labour Party needs ideas that shaped their early years post WW2, they need a Nye Bevan type idea that is so huge in scope that people will be forced to look again.
The SNP is all spin and no substance; the Labour Party cannot afford the time to wait till the SNP become unpopular and Scotland cannot wait either.
Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to fight on education, given we have had three duds as SNP Education Ministers, I say yes, lets fight on education, and fight on everything else, let Labour shape the debate, and the SNP do the spin because people can see through ‘tat’.
The SNP has failed Scotland on education, it is a trial of broken promises, incompetence and a lack of desire of achievement, let’s look at their failure to be sure but let’s also see a new vision coming forward so kids know that they will get their chance.
Why should opportunity just be restricted to the children of the rich?
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University