Herald mistakes ‘Universities Scotland’ for Scottish universities saying they demand say on tuition fees


Principal Mahoney of UWS and Universities Scotland

(c) http://americanprofile.com

Andrew Denholm, who should know, mistakenly claims today that Scottish universities want a say on tuition fees. He’s mixed up the 19 individuals who are the principals and the exclusive members of something called Universities Scotland with the multitude making up Scottish universities. Here’s how they describe themselves:

‘Universities Scotland is the (sic) representative body of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions. We develop policy on behalf of the university sector and campaign publicly on higher education issues.’


They’re wrong about the ‘the’ there. A university consists of the thousands of students attending it, the thousands of staff working in it, the governors and the principal. University principals do not speak for the whole university unless they’ve consulted everyone and have a consensus on something.


They absolutely do not have a consensus on tuition fees. Indeed, almost everyone in Scottish universities apart from a handful of senior staff wants nothing to do with fees.

I’m reminded now of University of the West of Scotland principal, Craig Mahoney’s media intervention in 2015, when he called for a debate on tuition fees in Scotland. he had only just arrived in Scotland from Tasmania via England so knew SFA about the Scottish education system and its 500-year history of universal free education.

In a BBC report at the time, we read from the Student Association:

‘Students at UWS and across Scotland have consistently rejected the idea of tuition fees. This consumerist ideology creates unnecessary barriers to education. We firmly believe that the reintroduction of tuition fees is wrong – morally and economically. The Students’ Association and its members believe education is a right not a privilege and that students and staff at UWS are losing confidence in the principal over this matter.’


Feeling safe in my imminent retirement, I emailed the entire University to remind Mahoney of the error of his thinking. No other member of staff openly supported him, but most were justifiably too scared to say anything.


One thought on “Herald mistakes ‘Universities Scotland’ for Scottish universities saying they demand say on tuition fees

  1. Ludo Thierry February 20, 2018 / 9:29 pm

    Talking school level education rather than Uni – so hope I’m not too far off topic?

    Saw this excellent announcement regarding language learning funding in Scottish schools on the ScotGov news site: see below:

    School funding to strengthen skills.

    Schools will be allocated £3 million this year to support pupils learning additional languages, Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn has announced.

    A lack of language skills has been estimated to cost Scottish businesses hundreds of millions of pounds a year in lost exports.

    The Scottish Government funding will enable every primary school pupil to start learning an additional language in Primary 1 and a second additional language by Primary 5, and for language learning to continue to the end of S3. This includes Mandarin, Gaelic and British Sign Language as well as European languages.

    There has been a sustained increase in language Highers and skills-based qualifications in recent years and the Scottish Government’s continued investment will build on this success, ensuring the workforce has the right skills to make the most of international economic opportunities.

    Good Grief – young Scots being given the opportunity to develop themselves and their employability skills by learning other languages – which will help Scotland’s economy. That britnat Lab MP Hugh Gaffney (with the ‘interesting’ views about New Scots) will blow a gasket when he hears this (especially the opportunities to learn Mandarin – wrong type of ‘orange’ maybe?).

    Liked by 4 people

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