Chorus of approval for Scots quality of learning

September 21, 2001

Almost 19 out of 20 students in Scottish higher and further education are satisfied with their institution and the quality of learning.

A survey of 2,000 students by System 3, commissioned by the Scottish Higher and Further Education Funding Councils, found 7 per cent of higher education students and 6 per cent of further education students were dissatisfied with the quality of their learning experience, while almost 90 per cent were happy with their institution and course.

Lord Sutherland, convener of Universities Scotland and principal of Edinburgh University, said: "Higher education in Scotland is getting it right."

Students rated the availability of books in libraries as most important, with a quarter very or fairly dissatisfied with the service. Some 59 per cent were very or fairly satisfied.

Next most important was support and guidance from teaching staff, with 76 per cent very or fairly satisfied. Some 12 per cent of students were unhappy with the amount of advice they got on financial and personal issues, and information about jobs.

Mandy Telford, president of the National Union of Students Scotland, praised the funding councils for tackling the issue of student satisfaction, but said it must be followed up with more searching questions and a harder look at the shortfalls in provision.

Lord Sutherland added: "After 20 years of having our funding squeezed, we cannot afford to provide all the books, equipment and advice services to students that we would like to. Scotland has got to keep investing in its teaching infrastructure."

Laurence Howells, the funding councils' director of strategy and corporate affairs, said the findings would underpin discussions about how aspects of studying could be improved.

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