Salmond unveils ‘free tuition’ monument at Heriot-Watt

Alex Salmond has faced criticism after unveiling a monument at a university honouring his commitment to free higher education

November 18, 2014

On his penultimate day in office, Scotland’s First Minister unveiled the commemorative stone at Heriot-Watt University inscribed with his March 2011 statement on university costs: “The rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scottish students.”

Weighing nearly a tonne, the stone was carved and designed by stonemasonry apprentices at Historic Scotland’s National Conservation Centre in Elgin.

Mr Salmond, who is standing down after seven and a half years in office, described the abolition of tuition fees as his government’s “single biggest achievement”.

“It is without doubt now a commitment writ in stane,” said Mr Salmond, who added that it was “fitting and humbling” to have the “wonderful” monument created by apprentices.

But Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives’ young people spokeswoman, claimed that free tuition had “done nothing to widen access” and instead placed pressure on universities to recruit fee-paying students from elsewhere, “freezing out” Scottish learners.

“That’s hardly a legacy worth celebrating,” said Ms Smith.

Apprentices Gregor Alcorn and Ross Kennedy spent four days carving the stone and another two colouring the lettering.

Steve Chapman, Heriot-Watt’s principal, said: “We are delighted to host this stone, a beautifully crafted piece and a monument to Alex Salmond’s tenure as First Minister and his strongly held commitment to access to education for Scottish students.”  

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Student Hub Advisor

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Data Systems Administrator

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

Deputy Vice Chancellor

University Of Cumbria

Professor in English Literature

University Of Glasgow
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes