AS alarmist hypothetical post independence referendum scenarios goes it takes some beating.
The latest edition of Scottish Education, a guide to the sector by some of the country's leading academics, imagines an outcome where Balkan-style nationalism stalks our classrooms. In fact, this Dystopian future is so heavily qualified as to make it virtually meaningless, but it is worth repeating just to count the caveats.
Loading article content
The otherwise excellent book suggests different outcomes for education depending on different referendum results, from a landslide victory for the Yes camp to a heavy defeat.
In the latter situation the book's conclusion states: "For some within the party, the so-called fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable and some kind of split might be inevitable, perhaps leading to a form of populist nationalism in the wake of the failure of its political counterpart. This might be characterised by an appeal to ethnic or cultural distinctiveness which could well have some distasteful ramifications if allowed to affect curriculum and schooling to any extent."
For the record that's two "mights", one "perhaps", a "could" and an "if" - not to mention the lack of reference to the professional integrity of teachers who are almost universally adept at keeping this sort of poison out of the classroom.
Scottish Education is far more erudite on the issue of future funding of comprehensive schools in deprived areas and the state of major ongoing reforms to lessons and exams under the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). In both cases, it is the existing policies of the Scottish Government that come under the spotlight rather than what may or may not happen following the referendum.
"A worrying feature of CfE is that no large-scale research programme to assess its impact has been commissioned by the Scottish Government and, so far, the amount of independent academic research has been limited, perhaps reflecting caution in relation to a policy that has so much political weight behind it," the academics state.
University researchers calling for more university research, as they often do, may seem self-serving, but in this case their views are supported by widespread suspicion that ministers have declined to invest in exhaustive independent research in case the reality does not match the rhetoric.
The second criticism refers to the ongoing council tax freeze which has been reluctantly accepted by Scottish councils as part of their funding settlement. The book points out that in most urban areas, segregated social housing and the "vagaries" of catchment areas create highly socially stratified schools which compound inequalities in society.
Describing the most likely response to this as the targeting of extra resources towards those deemed in need, the conclusion suggests this will be even less likely as a result of the council tax freeze, which will put increased pressure on local authorities to "almost certainly reduce" existing levels of public service. "Disabling challenges to the comprehensive system may well prove to be not so much ideological as financial. The love of money may be the root of all evil, but the lack of it can be the root of much else."
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.