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Joint statement between Cabinet Secretary for Education and UCU Scotland

5 October 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

The joint convention between UCU and Michael Russell Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning allowed a frank exchange on the issues in higher education.

Both sides agreed on the importance of universities for the future of Scotland and the need to ensure they are adequately funded in the future.

Higher education provides the educated workforce that is the base for inward investment, the research for new companies and the professionals in our public services. It both reflects the need to preserve and sustain cultural achievement in Scotland, and contributes crucially to how culture is developed. Above all, it enriches the lives of those who experience it. All areas of life depend on the university staff who share their knowledge with business, our cultural institutions, the media, Scottish Government and society. In short universities are the social, economic and intellectual consciousness of Scotland.

The sector has received increased funding recently and is sustainable in the short-term. However, there is recognition that there is a need to ensure adequate and sustainable funding over the long-term. The whole of Scotland gains from a graduate workforce and not just graduates themselves and it should be funded in a way that reflects its usefulness to all areas of Scotland.

The importance of academic freedom is recognised as is a good in itself, a necessary element in any civilised society. It is the best guarantee of good science and sound scholarship and as a secure basis for maintaining the success of our universities in attracting overseas students and providing an open and welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds and beliefs.

University staff are crucial to the functioning of universities and it is recognised that they have an important role to play in contributing ideas to develop the "Scottish Solution" to higher education funding that the Scottish Government is working towards.

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