Spin will protect Scottish postgrads

August 6, 1999

The latest by-product of political devolution north of the border is a network that aims to improve the status of postgraduate students, writes Olga Wojtas.

A meeting of postgraduate delegates, held in Edinburgh, has voted to launch the Scottish Postgraduate Information Network, which will thrash out details of office bearers and agendas at its next meeting at St Andrews University later this month.

Tom Fuller, Edinburgh University's postgraduate convenor and initiator of Spin, predicted that a key concern was to elevate the status of postgraduates to that of junior professionals.

He said: "Many postgraduates are the lecturers and researchers of tomorrow, and the quality of training they receive will have an influence on the future quality of higher education."

Mr Fuller stressed that Spin was not intended as a challenge to the National Postgraduate Committee, which operates for the whole of the United Kingdom. But he said the advent of the Scottish Parliament had given the impetus for a Scottish representative body.

In particular, Spin was likely to give evidence to Scotland's independent committee of inquiry into student finance, which covers postgraduates as well as undergraduates.

"A lot of issues are UK-wide, but the review of student finance has an impact on the postgraduates of the future," Mr Fuller said. Scotland's small size had made it "effortless" to convene the meeting of postgraduate representatives, and each meeting would be held in a different university.

The network was also likely to gather information on the inconsistency in pay rates for teaching across Scotland.

Spin can be contacted through Edinburgh University students' association postgraduate committee at 0131 650 4016 (phone/fax) and postgrad@holyrood.ed.ac.uk

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