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politics. university tuition fees.

Where are the university principals on tuition fees?

  The silence has been deafening.  Since the major Scottish political parties all came into line behind the policy of keeping Scotland tuition-fee free two weeks ago, I have not heard one positive comment from any of Scotland’s university principals.    Why aren’t they celebrating the fact that Scotland has decided to make a decisive break with the creeping privatisation of higher education that is afflicting England?   They have been behaving like a sectional special interest group, truculent in lobbying for their own policies, peevish and negative when they don’t get their way.

    They need to remember that they are public institutions and that they are there to serve the Scottish people, not their own balance sheets.

   What have they got to complain about?   The Scottish government has given an unequivocal commitment to financing Scottish universities.  “Any funding gap [with fee paying universities] will be closed” . Where else in the public sector is there such a commitment?  Only the NHS. Universities should count themselves lucky that they are receiving a record of £1.2 billion from the public purse.  That places on them an obligation to accept with good grace the wishes of the Scottish public that higher education should remain free.

About iain2macwhirter

Writer and journalist.


4 thoughts on “Where are the university principals on tuition fees?

  1. If in the words of a previous PM, Jim Callaghan, " Taxation is a great leveller" then free education is the great liberator.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 18, 2011, 5:07 pm
  2. The University Principals are paid 6 figure salaries yet their only contribution to the debate on the funding of the Universities over which they preside may be summed up as 'Gie's the money and screw the undergraduates or tax the graduates to get it'.Hardly the response one would expect from leaders of 'world class' institutions is it? Can these institutions not think of something better especialy since they have all these world leading departments of accountancy, Business studies etc. But we have been here before with the Universities and their deficits particularly the University of Glasgow. How many times have they been in such dire straits financially that they threaten to sell their Whistlers or sell of some sports ground or other?As to Labour's conversion to the cause well not so much of the 'flaming bush' sort of conversion – more 'flasming 'eck'. Just two days before Mr Gray announced his U-turn Des McNulty was quoted as saying a graduate contribution was inevitible. So will the committment last beyond the election?Labour copying SNP policies is being likened to Clinton's triangulation strategy – pinch your opponents policies. Unfortunately triangulation does not work if you have voted against those policies or gone on public record heaping scorn and ridicule on them or stating you will do something else. More strangulation than triangulation I would have thought.As to Mr Gray and his u-turns they are a bit like buses another one will be along in a minute. Oh look here it comes: minimum unit pricing of alcohol!!

    Posted by CWH | March 18, 2011, 5:42 pm
  3. I would have thought the response should have been a huge THANKYOU from each and every one of them.With the addendum 'Now, if you don't mind I will get on with the job of running my institution.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 20, 2011, 4:06 pm
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