Tagged: Higher Education
This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Robin 7 months, 2 weeks ago.
2 March 2019 at 6:54 am #1165
For years now any criticism of the SNP by a Yes voter is shot down quickly on all social media platforms. I understand that independence must come first then we can address the inequalities and failures in Scotland whilst in this Union.
However we still need to look at the current issues and be able to discuss them without being accused of being a fake Yes voter or Troll.
For example, I want the right to pay for my child’s university place in Scotland because places on courses are rationed and Scots kids are missing out to fee paying English and foreign students.
2 March 2019 at 5:49 pm #1166
I quite agree. Not being able to criticise anything the SNP do, will only lead us to the same complacency that Labour had in the 80s and 90s, and that is not a good thing. I thought that the 2014 referendum, had taught us all to “question everything”, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for some.
There is no doubt that the SNP do many good things under difficult circumstances, but at the same time, they should not be above question. Rather than keep silent for fear of “unionist attack”, I feel we should actually tackle the difficult questions. Many of the questions some fear, may actually, once dug into, be laid at Westminster’s door, and strengthen the independence case. But equally, the SNP should be held to account, lest they become complacent, like labour of the past.
I say, lets question and explore everything, from all sides.1+
2 March 2019 at 7:41 pm #1169
As an SNP member I am not upset by the want to criticise and question the SNP as and when it is required; however we must remain supportive of each other, respectful and courteous when discussing the SNP, as with every other party too. Treating each political party equally for their merits and misgivings!
@Bill I understand your wish to pay for your kids higher education, but in this financially unequal world, not everyone has the means to support their kids financially! I do however see the merits of a free higher education system as it levels the playing field for all hopefuls by making intellect and academic acheivement as the primary focus for entry into higher educational institutions instead of the ability to pay £9k a year; which for a lot of parents can easily be nearly half of the household income at worst, and at best is mere pennies in the scheme of things. There needs to be a balance that would allow you to pay too if your kids meet the entry criteria; there is always room for improvement in the system.1+
2 March 2019 at 7:44 pm #1170
Many people are not clear about the difference between SNP as a political party and Scottish Government – party policy does not always translate into wholly into government implementation, particularly in a minority government. Any debate should be clear where the focus is. Is it the policy that is being debated or is it the practical implementation of the policy? There should also be clarity around decision making processes, what, who and how are decisions made after policy is set. Also, opinions are much better appreciated when it can be understood how they have been informed, for example providing evidenced based facts.
@bill – Can you give an example of the type of rationing you describe? How many Scots kids are missing out to fee paying English and foreign students? What is the balance of responsibility between Scottish Government and Universities, in terms of making these operational decisions?
Our daughter Is hoping to go to university, so your knowledge and experience of how the system works is of personal interest, as well as political.1+
3 March 2019 at 9:47 am #1187
@Reeni I have conducted FOI’s into three universities, Aberdeen for Medical and Glasgow & Edinburgh for Vetinary. All except Edinburgh produced the results. Edinburgh Vet School dug their heels in at the level of detail I requested and used the full night of low to release their data – as they knew full well I’m on to them.
It doesn’t matter as Glasgow University for Vetinary released the data that illustrates my point. I’ll post a link later this morning.
Its kinda obvious when I thought about it, there is a limit to funding and consequently numbers of places funded on courses.
It means that once the “free” seats are taken that’s it all over for any remaining Scots that wished to be on that course regardless of results.
Other seats available are used for those that pay, rUK students and outside EU.
It should be noted that the “free” seats are also available to EU students and while you probably knew that bare in mind it means your sons and daughters will have to compete with them for places.
It gets worse: it’s common practice for Medical and Vet places that Highers that were resits or remarked papers are discounted for Scottish applicants. There is anecdotal evidence that EU students regularly get places here with resit papers for Edinburgh Medical college.
May I thank everyone for the good responses and level of debate, a far better experience compared with Twitter or Facebook.1+
3 March 2019 at 9:35 am #1186
You make a very good point, Reeni. It sometimes is hard to separate the Government from the SNP, since they won the most seats. I think we forget that they are a minority government, but that probably stems from the number of MPs they got in Westminster too. It’s easy to mistake them as being the majority in charge, when that really isn’t the case. In some ways I think this is where the “SNP x2” backfired on them in the Scottish elections. If they’d got other Indy parties supported in the Scottish elections. I think wed have seen a very different government and far less unionist list MPs.0
3 March 2019 at 10:36 am #1191
3 March 2019 at 5:19 pm #1205
Thanks for the link. It would be interesting to understand how the numbers are reached. I think you are right about budget, the current funding settlement is what it is, and priorities have to be made. There must also be a limit to the total number of places on a particular course.
Is it a simple £ / people = places or is there something a bit more sophisticated where recruitment demands are understood versus number of aspirational candidates. We need # radiologists graduating within a timescale and that will cost £? so that is the funding settlement. How do they factor in drop out rates, discipline changes etc?
Is it about costs, it is more expensive to get a forensic pathologist than a journalist so there are less places for science? We need more vets than art historians so the budget will go in that direction.
I wonder how the policy could be changed to accommodate your point – if Scots residents are able to afford to pay for a place, could this be achieved? This would of course displace one of the other places – presumably fee paying. What are the un-intended consequences of that?1+
4 March 2019 at 8:34 am #1221
@Reeni There are indeed complex methods involved between University and Government to plan for demand and supply of various professions particularly the important ones that impact our lives directly, without discrimination to Historians and Hospitality Managers (bar-tenders), so the Doctors, Nurses and Vets etc. But that process is beyond our ability to influence as far as I can understand it. Maybe write to our MSP with our concerns and demands is a start.
They definitely factor in drop out rate but then they set the bar very very high in order to ensure that doesn’t happen too often. It’s often said that if you’re really good at passing exams first time with an A then you’ll walk medical school.
The policy change that I and others seek would be to simply be offered a non-funded place. On the surface I think it looks ok, we could tick a box on the UCAS form that indicates our preference that in the event of no funded-places remaining for that course then my daughter could accept a non-funded place and pass the bill to Bank of Dad!
Yes that would remove a seat potentially from another student, but that student would be English or outside the EU. This assumes Scotland in UK and remaining in EU. Post Brexit the EU rule that forces us to offer free places to EU students and charge rUK students would change. Probably for better in fairness to us as tax payers and our own children.
Post Brexit, I’d assume that the regulation that offers EU students a free ride in a Scottish university would end. English always had to pay as they weren’t resident in Scotland. However many move here just for that purpose, whilst we welcome that some are staunch Brit-Nat Loyalists that have trolled, abused and threatened us on line but I digress slightly.
I’m not certain if there would be a negative impact of my policy idea other than a non-Scottish student missing out but on the plus side it’d be a bonus to our civic society both by paying and getting Scottish sons and daughters into the professions they seek.
If you are planning to get your kid to Uni be very prepared, they’ll need those A’s, all of them. Highers, don’t bother with 6 yr studies courses they’re pointless, 6th year at High School to sit further Highers as necessary. Any Nat5 with a poor grade should be redone in 5th year, some try the Higher having gained a C in Nat 5 and fail miserably and end up losing vital time that could have been spent better.
On top of that remember it’s not always about the A’s, they will expect to see on their personal statement what other activities they do related to the course. Charity work, sports and outlook on life. My youngest volunteers at a reptile specialist and has participated in zoological events plus is involved with the newly formed Scottish herpetologist society. When older she’ll be volunteering at Vets and logging her hours and gaining testimonials.
Consider Kip McGrath for Maths/English tuition. Weekly for the entire duration until the Highers are in the bag. Or a decent private tutor, depends on your circumstance. It’s better for my youngest to attend a class at night for an hour than someone come to us as our house is like a circus!
Have a backup plan, local college for a year HND in a related subject. Yes I know the thought of it! Apply for a place and follow through the process so a place is ready. When asked at interview why on Earth she wanted college over university she told them she didn’t feel ready, don’t say it’s a back up plan. 🤦♂️
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Twitter Leaks. Reason: Additional advice
5 March 2019 at 7:11 pm #1248
We have three young men who never did any school exams! Two went straight into HNC level at college when they we’re 16yo then HND then straight into 2nd year at uni. Our eldest did Graphic Design first. Then, because he had a keen interest in software engineering, did an HND at Dundee College then straight into 2nd year at Dundee Uni to do his BSc(Hons) Middle son worked for a year after gaining his BA(Hons) then did his Masters Degree in Typeface design at Reading. Youngest went into College at 15 and did up to HNC in two areas of design. Decided on what he really wanted to do and got an apprenticeship with a studio and started his own business at 21. Different routes can work depending on the course2+
6 March 2019 at 9:58 am #1254
Given the dominance of Unionism in the mainstream media and their pathological hatred of the SNP, the response of many SNP supporters is understandable, but erroneous.
The knee-jerk reaction to criticism, which often seems to be the default, is unhelpful. No political party or government should be beyond criticism – that route leads to either a complacent sense of entitlement (irrespective of performance) or a dictatorship under which all opposition must be silenced.
What is required is that the Party and especially the Scottish Government take any criticism seriously. It may be that after due examination that the criticism is found to be justified and steps are taken to rectify the situation or it may be deiscovered that, as expected, it is merelymischief-making by disaffected folk who have a particular axe to grind.
In an independent Scotland, I look forward to a plurality of parties that can, in opposition, genuinely hold the government to account (something lacking at present).1+
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