FREE UNIVERSITY COUNTRIES REAP REWARDS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Johann Lamont has been urged to start showing some ambition for Scotland’s young
people, after publishing fees information of the most successful academic countries.
The most recent research shows that Scotland occupies a similar successful placing as
Finland, Sweden and Denmark in terms of higher education research. Crucially, none of
these other countries charge fees for domestic or EU students – having found other ways to
fund their top-class institutions.
Scotland has 3 universities in the world’s top 100, and is ranked fourth in the world by
In a speech last month to mark her first anniversary as Labour leader, Ms Lamont indicated
that she had abandoned Labour’s manifesto promise for no up-front or back-end tuition fees.
However, in a move clearly designed to delay the bad news until after the referendum, she
refused to spell out any details until the next election.
SNP MSP George Adam, who sits on the Education and Culture Committee, said:
“These findings show that achieving world class higher education does not have to come at
the cost of burdening our young people with debt.
“Denmark, Sweden and Finland collectively have five universities in the world top 100, and –
like Scotland where access to higher education is based on the ability to learn not the ability
to pay – are punching above their weight in terms of research and development.
“It is an insult to Scotland’s world class higher education institutions, the academics that
work in them and the increasing numbers of students from Scotland and beyond who chose
study here to say that Scotland’s universities should become fee-paying.
“Johann Lamont completely misses the point that it is our universal and free access which is
integral part of the success story our higher education institutions have become.
“Given these fantastic successes of other forward-thinking nations in terms of higher
education, why on earth does she want to move us towards a situation like south of the
border, where the effect of tuition fees is turning potential students away in their thousands?
“The SNP will continue Scotland’s proud record on higher education by opening-up access
to 2000 university places to young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
But Labour wants to roll this all back and limit access to the wealthy few.
“It is simply the latest demonstration that only a Yes vote in 2014 will protect Scotland from
the dismal prospect of the progress that has been made by the Scottish Parliament being
rolled back by parties pursuing a Westminster agenda.”