'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' HeraldIt 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.