THE Commissioner for Fair Access, Sir Peter Scott states “We want everyone with the potential and ability to benefit from higher education” (“Middle-class fears ‘eroding support’ for access drive” & Agenda, The Herald, December 14). It is a laudable aspiration but why is it necessary?

We all enter this world into a set of predetermined circumstances beyond our individual control and that is the main determinant of what our lives will be.

The world is a horribly unfair place; we all carry the baggage of previous generations; and, with a few singular exceptions, our horizons will be determined simply by the accident of our birth.

Poverty, whether relative or absolute, is, along with the unequal distribution of wealth, a deliberate construct which is maintained by the elite who dictate government policy as is clearly demonstrated by the austerity measures the vast majority of us now labour under. In total, 97 per cent of all money has been created by private moneylenders, not our government.

Governments that tax the fruits of their citizens’ labour while allowing the private banking system to lend money it does not have perpetuate the problem.

With this Budget the SNP has capitulated to that system. That is where all societal problems, not just those of access to tertiary education, start and that is where the Government’s attention should be directed

But that requires intestinal fortitude, something that is singularly absent in contemporary politics.

David J Crawford,

85 Whittingehame Court,


I FELT that your article on fairer access to higher education in Scotland was particularly valuable in that it highlighted aspects of the report by Sir Peter Scott, Scotland’s Commissioner on Fair Access.

The Commissioner’s first report, Laying the Foundations for Fair Access, reveals a number of important considerations.

The one that struck me most forcibly under “progress to date” was the following one.

“The socio-economic profile of university and degree) and college and HN (Higher National) students is cause for concern, although any assumption that a college education or a vocational course) is inferior to university education must be resisted and the choices of learners must be respected.”

This refreshing approach to publicly equalising educational status was, perhaps, in my eyes slightly undermined by the expression “ non-degree” appearing twice in the report in reference to vocational courses.

Nevertheless, the report appears positively to acknowledge a social problem requiring address regarding biased attitudes between the two post-school educational sectors.

However, I felt that Sir Peter Scott should, in his report, perhaps have felt bold enough to recognise the full significance that most young people leaving school next year will have been born this century.

This generation is at present familiar with learning online.

As a result, eLearning of academic subjects presents very many more flexible possibilities for fair access than would have been previously imagined.

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,