The Scottish Office is proposing to seek external advice on appointments to the boards of six educational quangos, including the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.
Michael Forsyth, secretary of state for Scotland, has issued a consultation paper on the openness and accountability of Scottish public bodies, which also include the Scottish Further Education Unit, the Scottish Community Education Council, the Scottish Council for Education Technology, and Scottish Vocational Education Council and Scottish Examination Board, which are set to merge next April into the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Mr Forsyth said he wanted to dispel the misconceptions which surrounded these bodies, and show his commitment to the continuing pursuit of the highest standards and best practices in their management and supervision.
"I want to ensure that non-departmental public bodies continue to be fully accountable to those they serve, and are seen to be so," he said.
The paper proposes that all the quangos have a code of practice on openness and accountability, making information available about their work and decisions.
The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department would set up an advisory panel, including independent members, to scrutinise lists of candidates and recommend appointments.
Mr Forsyth wants to see public advertisements for the independent advisers as well as for quango board members.