Distinctive Scottish mission accepted

February 3, 1995

Scotland. The Scottish Office has moved to allay fears that the higher education review announced by Gillian Shephard will ignore the distinctive education system north of the border.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, Scottish Office minister for education, has told the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals that there is no question of decisions about the direction of Scottish higher education or its underlying principles being taken by Department for Education ministers. Scottish institutions have been invited to make submissions by the end of this month. "I recognise that Scottish answers to the questions which have been posed by the DfE will not necessarily be the same as the English (or Welsh or Northern Irish) answers." David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, welcomed Lord James's assurance, but regretted that the Scottish Office was not properly involved from the outset.

Sir William Fraser, principal of Glasgow University, said that in a rapidly changing scene, it was rather a tall order to expect universities to provide comprehensive answers to Mrs Shephard's "examination paper" in two-and-a-half months, and was even more difficult in the absence of part two of the paper, dealing with finance.

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