Tue 17 Jan, 2017

This cross-party report makes clear that Scottish Ministers are getting way ahead of themselves on their merger plans, and need to walk back their decisions. Ross Greer MSP

Ross Greer MSP, Education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (17 Jan) welcomed a report from Holyrood's Education committee, backing his concerns about the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) and the Scottish Government's plans to scrap the Scottish Funding Council.

The report says that the committee is concerned by the Government‘s plan to merge the boards of the Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, when it has not seen evidence to justify the move. It says this risks universities being reclassified as public bodies, which could impact on their funding.

The report also says urgent work is needed by the SQA to rebuild its relationship with teachers.

Ross Greer MSP said:

"This cross-party report makes clear that Scottish Ministers are getting way ahead of themselves on their merger plans, and need to walk back their decisions. Our universities' funding is at risk if the board of the Scottish Funding Council – which is the SFC itself – is scrapped.

"It is completely unacceptable that two Cabinet Secretaries were unable to provide evidence to the committee of what the effects of this merger could be. Frankly, it is quite clear that the evidence doesn't exist, the government have decided to proceed with a policy without first checking what damage it might do. That is completely irresponsible."

On the problems at the SQA, Ross said:

"The overwhelming weight of evidence submitted to the committee shows that teachers and parents don't trust the SQA, thanks to exam papers littered with errors and the Authority's dismissive response to concerns. The SQA, and Scottish Ministers, need to show they are serious about listening to teachers and students and acting on their concerns."

 

The Education committee's report includes the following points:

17.
The Committee is concerned by the Government‘s intentions to pursue the
Phase 1 recommendation of the Enterprise and Skills Review to create an
overarching board for enterprise and skills agencies when it has not seen
the evidence to justify the abolition of the SFC Board.

19. The Committee recognises the importance of a body undertaking the
functions of the SFC. The Committee is particularly concerned that any
reform does not risk universities being reclassified as public bodies and will
continue to scrutinise the Enterprise and Skills review as it progresses.

 

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