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Terms of Reference
In Scotland there is universal access to higher education whilst students in the rest of the UK need to pay fees. What are the benefits and challenges brought about by not charging Scottish students tuition fees? This report tries to elaborate the pros and cons of free education with particular reference to Scottish educational curriculum. There shall be, in this report, some comparisons with other countries that provide free education in order to establish some weaknesses and strengths in the system. Recommendations in this report will be the writer’s own views and suggestion. 2. Discussion
The idea behind free education appears to have started a long time ago some, might say it dates back the beginning of civilisation through folktales therefore passing on information from generation to generation. 2.1 Benefits of free education in Scotland
Poverty Alleviation; (Riddell, 2013) Diagram II illustrates the percentage of students benefiting from free education in Scotland compared with those in England. There are more students going for higher education in Scotland, this could be a result of Scotland’s free education. Poor families can send their children to the same instructions of higher learning where rich families send their children. Free education bridges the gap between rich and poor.
Students from poor background do not fee segregated because they are included in the education systems like those from rich families. Promotes Equal Opportunities; According to (Riddle, 2013) more 16 to 30 year olds enter higher education in Scotland compared with England’s (56,1% compared to 47% in 2011 -12). Scotland has a large number of students on HNC and HND programme in Colleges, many of whom are from poorer backgrounds. Promotion of cross social interaction with the community
Improve academic competency within the academic fields and in industry. Keeps the youth occupied therefore keeping the youth out of trouble. Academic Competency;
Facilitates growth of the economy by increase in human resources. Students will have less stress during their studies since they do not have to look for part time work while studying. The learning environment becomes conducive to freedom of choice in identifying talent. Students can make their choices on skills and techniques according to their ability as opposed to when they pay for their tuition in which they will be looking at taking courses that have higher remunerations after graduation even though they might not pass their chosen courses. 2.2 Challenges
In an analysis by (Jamie McIvor, 2013) on university tuition fees in Scotland, whilst the rest of the EU students are allowed free education whereas, English students are not allowed free education in Scotland yet they also belong to the EU. It appears as though there is a genuine legal argument that can be brought to a court of law by English student in relation to this as discrimination. Another challenge mentioned in (Jamie McIvor, 2013) BBC Scotland article is the inconsistency of the fees regime where for example Glasgow university charges different from Edinburgh University.
In a different report (BBC Scotland, 2013) Scotland’s deputy first minister said that “by not charging students from other parts of the UK, Scotland risked “crowding our students out”. This appeared to contradict the labour SNP’s policy which they said was based on nationality and therefore, was discriminatory. The argument appeared to be based on the fact that Westminster charges education fees to Scottish students and Ms Nicola Sturgeon says if they (Westminster) changed this policy Scotland would change too (BBC Scotland, 2013). As a result the general picture looks like it is politics at play, were policy is being manipulated by either side (Westminster and Holyrood)....
References: 1. BBC Scotland, B. (2013, DECEMBER 12). Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon defends UK student fees plan. Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-25352371
2. Jamie McIvor. (2013, 07 11). Analysis: University tuition fees in Scotland. Retrieved 03 01, 2014, from BBC News Scotland: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-23279868
3. Mathew R Johnstone. (2014, FEBRUARY 18). News. Retrieved from Salmond’s plans for RUK tuition fees ‘illegal’?: http://www.strathclydetelegraph.com/2014/02/salmonds-plans-ruk-tuition-fees-independent-scotland-illegal/
4. Michael Blackley . (2014, JANUARY 12). News. Retrieved from MailOnline: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2537823/Charging-British-students-tuition-fees-Scottish-universities-independence-illegal-say-experts.html
Alex Salmond. first minister of Scotland (Mathew R Johnstone, 2014)
Higher education participation in England (Riddell, 2013) p4
Participation HE sectors in Scotland by (Riddell, 2013) p6
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