Nicol Stephen, Scotland's deputy minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, has hailed the Institute for Learning and Teaching as proof of Scottish higher education's continuing bond with the rest of the United Kingdom, writes Olga Wojtas.
Mr Stephen, speaking at this week's Scottish launch of the ILT, said political
devolution did not mean that higher education should retreat into Scottish isolation. The ILT was joining a
well-established UK stable of higher
education bodies that included
councils and the Quality Assurance Agency.
But Mr Stephen said some things would be done on a Scottish basis, and a key priority for the Scottish executive was helping to create a knowledge economy.
He said: "There is a central role for higher education in the creation of a knowledge economy. However, one thing we should keep in mind is that the major knowledge transfer from the academic world to the world of industry takes
place via the students who graduate and go on to jobs
in industry or start their own companies. This is where the quality of their learning experience and the effectiveness of the teaching at universities is
Angela Roger, senior lecturer in educational studies at Dundee University and a member of the ILT's transitional council, said that through its
process of consultation on accreditation, it had shown itself to be open and responsive to the needs of the
But while accreditation issues had been high profile, these were only one aspect of the transitional council's work. Another aim was to stimulate innovation and support good practice, and the council was planning conferences and seminars to boost this, with opportunities to network both within this country and worldwide.
The launch of the ILT brought universities into a new era "where teaching of the highest standard is to be valued and seen to be valued", she said.