A leading professor has called for Christian universities similar to those found in the US to be introduced in Scotland.

Professor James Fraser CBE claims the universities, which would teach and research from a Christian viewpoint, would offer greater choice to students in Scotland.

The former principal of the University of the Highlands and Islands said the proposal would be a move away from the "radical secularist" viewpoints in place at Scotland's existing colleges and universities.

Mr Fraser said: "A Christian university would teach and research within the pre-suppositional framework of a Christian world view. It would welcome people of all faiths and none to its student body.

"The Scottish Government should rethink the financing of Universities to enable a more pluralist system. Scotland has some of the most excellent universities in the world but needs to offer more variety and greater competition.

"A Christian university would have to flourish in a market place by having excellent and quality courses delivered to a standard of excellence that would attract both Christian and non-Christian students."

While religion-based universities do not currently exist in Scotland, they are common place in the US, with more than 1000 higher education institutions defining themselves as religiously affiliated.

Hundreds are also members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, a group which represents Christian education in the US.

The council stipulates that members must have a strong commitment to "Christ-centred higher education" and hire only Christians for faculty and administrative staff.

Presenting his vision for Christian education to the general assembly of the Free Church, Mr Fraser said the church should seriously consider developing the first such institution in Scotland.

He said: "All teaching and research is shaped by the values of the institution and its staff; and today in most Scottish universities the values framework is derived from a radical secularist world view.

"The secular world view is by no means universally accepted by the people of Scotland. We need to serve Scotland better by giving people greater choice."

The former principal, who has extensive experience in senior management within Scottish higher education, suggested that the beginning of such a university might come from the Free Church's seminary in Edinburgh, which already provides university level courses in partnership with the University of Glasgow.

He added that funding such a university would be a "formidable task" and called on the Scottish Government to reconsider allocating a greater share of university funding to the student voucher scheme, where vouchers act as bursaries, tailored to student choice and financial circumstance.

Mr Fraser, who is chair of the Free Kirk's Board of Trustees, also called for a debate on preventing the secularisation of children in Scottish schools.

"An education system cannot be value free," he said, "Our present state system is permeated by a mixture of pernicious secular values and leavened to some degree by a legacy of distinctly Christian values.

“We need to debate how we are going to prevent the secularisation of our children through the media and the education system, because if we continue to lose them we will have no future whatsoever as an institution.

“If we fail to do this we fail our generation fundamentally and we capitulate to secularism”.