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University chiefs aren't custodians of a business, but of our educational future

It is deeply concerning that the Committee of Scottish Chairs (chairs of university governing bodies) believe there is no need to regulate the rest of UK (rUK) tuition fees in Scottish universities ("University chiefs demand end to tuition fees cap", The Herald, February 19).

While in their evidence to the Education and Culture Committee, Scottish chairs stated the voluntary fee level is being adhered to, it is worth recalling that when this voluntary agreement was made, the Minister indicated he would legislate on the fee level, so if any university had set a higher fee it would have been forced to reduce it once the Bill became law.

Further, in the consultation in 2011 which abolished the previous flat fee, it was stated that "our universities will set fees for rUK domiciled students at around £6375, a competitive figure even once the extra length of the degree in Scotland is taken into account".

It is regrettable that most university courts have set rUK fees at a much higher level, with two universities setting the highest permissible yearly level even though many degrees last a year longer than in England.

University and College Union Scotland's concern is that if left unregulated some universities would increase fees.

The chairs of courts think the market will regulate fees but don't seem to understand they are not the custodians of a business but of Scotland's educational future.

This is concerning as they are leading on a code which is supposed to improve governance but seem driven by a market approach that excludes staff and student unions.

Mary Senior,

Scotland official,

University and College Union,

6 Castle Street,

Edinburgh.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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