RSE response to the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill
In its response to the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee’s consideration of the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill, the RSE Education Committee comments on the absence of an overarching strategy for a reformed post-16 education system. The plans for the college sector are much more specific than those for the universities. Strategy for the university sector appears to be emerging on an ad hoc basis as outcome agreements are negotiated and agreed.
The RSE Education Committee believes that the fundamental right and need for universities to enjoy autonomy in their operations is not being sufficiently recognised. While universities have to be accountable to funders for the outcomes due, the Bill seeks to change the balance in ways that could be damaging to the vitality of the sector.
Regionalisation, for most colleges, seems to be accepted as the best way forward to preserve services to learners in the context of reduced resources, and to further enhance services through a coherent approach to identifying and meeting regional priorities. The RSE Education Committee is concerned about the extent to which the college sector can implement this scale of change and fulfil the wide-ranging education, training and life-long learning roles expected of it in the face of the substantial funding reductions it is experiencing.
The RSE has also recently responded to the development of a Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance. The response can be read here.