Scottish colleges oppose CVCP restructuring plans

May 28, 1999

Tensions have emerged over Scotland's participation in restructuring proposals for a federated Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals.

The head of Glasgow School of Art has described as "demeaning and unacceptable" proposals to limit his institution to associate membership of the London-based CVCP.

At present, all Scottish higher education institutions enjoy full membership of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals (Coshep). The CVCP represents universities only.

Art-school director Dugald Cameron spoke out after Scottish principals voted overwhelmingly to approve proposals for a fully devolved Coshep within the proposed new CVCP umbrella structure.

"If we go into a new form of arrangement, Coshep can't just be exactly what it was," he said. "I don't think the CVCP has any relevance to what we do, and I wouldn't necessarily want to be part of it. I sympathise with those paying rather a lot of money, but it seems to me that the CVCP bit should go out of the window because Coshep has to be the body for Scottish institutions.

"We have a Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the Scottish Parliament. This is not the time to be seen to be diluting this."

The CVCP is due to consider the Scottish proposals today and, following Coshep's endorsement, is likely to approve them.

A spokesman for the committee said that strict protocols would be built into the federal arrangements to ensure that Coshep has complete territorial autonomy.

Members were also discussing proposals for an English sub-committee of the CVCP. This would be a scaled-down version of the full committee set up to deal with specifically English issues.

This would include, for example, the CVCP's interaction with the Teacher Training Agency. CVCP officials were hopeful of agreement on the English committee.

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