Friday, December 02, 2016

Time to Re-Think the System ? Universities , Colleges and Work-based Learning in Scotland


'THE Scottish Government's policy of free tuition for university students has come under intense pressure from principals who said the sector was now "at tipping point". Universities Scotland said cuts had made current funding levels "unsustainable" with the future quality of teaching and research at risk' Herald
It is time to have a radical look at course provision across Work-based Learning , Colleges and Universities. If we want and/or believe in free higher education, then the system needs to change. This both to provide clearer support for learners and for the system to operate within the resources available from the public purse. There needs too to be much greater collaboration and support across these sectors and into Schools.

The system as it stands cannot continue as a three lane highway all funded in different ways with a combination of slip roads that can lead to dead ends for learners . I hope the Enterprise and Skills Review and the new overarching committee finally picks up on this.
A good case can be made to follow up on some of the models emerging in England, where with the support of employers, law , accountancy and many other professions are moving back towards being largely apprenticeship based.

The system often talks about an over supply of hairdressers but an over supply of law students is rarely seen as a challenge, this might seem trite - but the issues need unpackaging and probably requires a programme re-design across all three sectors - putting learners before any institutional or sectoral politics.

If we don't take some decisions here soon - then by the continual salami slicing of the funding for Universities , Colleges and Work-based learning - the system will fail to modernise, be damaged as a whole and diminish the prospects and opportunities for Scottish learners.


Rob McDermott said...

Interesting idea, and you are right, it is time for change. Unfortunately, as can be seen by the Secondary school teachers' response to CfE, we have a long way to go to get everyone on board.

Rob McDermott said...

Interesting stuff but at the moment I feel that we have a lot of convincing to do to get people to think about the true value of education. The secondary teachers' response to CfE highlights the problem.

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Joe Wilson said...

Rob Hopefully schools start responding to developing Scotland's Young Workforce and expand the portfolios of vocational routes they offer in partnership with training providers , colleges and universities - but we as a nation also need to think about a broader vocational reform programme - schools still serve too narrow an interest group - and it is not the learners !