In its report, the National Committee is making in the order of one hundred recommendations covering the whole of the United Kingdom (UK). In endorsing the majority of the National Committee's recommendations; the recommendations we, as the Scottish Committee, are making, serve as additional proposals or as amplification to fit the National Committee's recommendations to the distinctive Scottish context. It is, therefore, essential to the context of our recommendations that readers have an understanding of the National Committee's proposals.

New Scottish qualifications framework

Recommendation 1
We recommend to providers of higher education programmes in Scotland, the Quality Assurance Agency, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access that they should together consider and adopt an integrated qualifications framework based around level of study and Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme credit points.

Scottish higher education qualifications

Recommendation 2
We recommend to all higher education institutions that 360 credit-point Bachelors degrees should become more widely available and that they should begin to develop or extend their provision in this area, with the support and assistance of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.

Recommendation 3
We recommend to higher education institutions that they should develop wider and more diverse programmes at honours level.

Recommendation 4
We recommend to professional bodies and institutions that they should together formally consider how their requirements could be embedded within the qualifications framework, in discussion with the Quality Assurance Agency and the Scottish Qualifications Authority as appropriate.

Admissions

Recommendation 5
We recommend to the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, the Association of Scottish Colleges, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access, The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department, the Association of Directors of Education, school headteachers and other interested parties that they should give urgent attention and consideration to achieving better value for money from the Scottish Sixth Year by:

  • evolving a meaningful and credit-rated curriculum for the Advanced Higher;
  • evolving a meaningful curriculum for non-Advanced Higher students

so that both can be fitted meaningfully and usefully into the framework of qualifications.

Recommendation 6
We recommend to higher education providers that they should clearly specify their requirements for combinations of A levels which will lead to entry with advanced standing within the new qualifications framework.

Recommendation 7
We recommend to further education colleges and higher education institutions that they should actively collaborate to enhance and publicise access and articulation routes into degree programmes for students at further education colleges.

Teaching, quality and standards

Recommendation 8
We recommend to higher education institutions that they should, on behalf of their staff, establish or seek access to programmes accredited by the proposed Institute for Learning and Teaching that support teaching excellence. Institutions should encourage new and existing staff, including higher education teachers in the further education sector, to join the Institute.

Recommendation 9
We recommend to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council that, for as long as Teaching Quality Assessment remains the main quality assessment mechanism in operation in Scotland, a review cycle of not more than six years should be in place.

Recommendation 10
We recommend to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the Quality Assurance Agency that they should meet, as soon as practical, to begin negotiations that will ensure that the criteria to support Scotland's inclusion in the Agency are met at an early date.



Research

Recommendation 11
We recommend to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council that it should identify how it might encourage and facilitate research collaboration within its funding streams.

Recommendation 12
We recommend to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council that it should give further consideration to how, and on what basis, collaborative research centres might be best facilitated and organised in Scotland.

Recommendation 13
We recommend to the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council and the Research Councils that they should, as appropriate, make available additional funding to ensure that outstanding researchers, irrespective of location, have access to research facilities.

Recommendation 14
We recommend to higher education institutions that they should identify and establish links with industry to foster and facilitate work-based research training. These links should enable industry staff to gain high quality postgraduate qualifications through in-house research projects.

Recommendation 15
We recommend that the Secretary of State for Scotland should consider filling the post of Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland. One of his or her primary responsibilities would be to identify and develop, where possible, from the diverse research base in Scotland, an integrated strategy for Scottish research.

Strengthening economic links

Recommendation 16
We recommend that the Confederation of British Industry (Scotland), the Scottish Council Development and Industry and other employer associations should urge their members to give consideration to increasing provision of sponsorship opportunities and work experience for students.

Recommendation 17
We recommend to higher education providers and employers that they should collaborate to develop more sponsorship and work experience opportunities which provide real benefit to both students and employers.

Recommendation 18
We recommend to The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department that it should look in detail at the scope for developing additional work placement opportunities on the Shell Technology Enterprise Programme model using funds already channelled for support of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Infrastructure

Recommendation 19
We recommend to the Confederation of British Industry (Scotland), Chairmen and Chief Executives of Scottish companies and other organisations that they should be responsive to institutional needs for high quality lay members for their governing bodies.

Recommendation 20
We recommend to the four Scottish ancient universities and to the Government that the office of Rector should no longer be linked to the Chairmanship of the University Court, and that the appropriate legislation should be enacted to support this change in institutional governance.

Recommendation 21
We recommend to institutions that they should develop ideas for improvement in performance through better use of facilities and resources, and that this should be implemented both within and between institutions. Staff who contribute useful ideas should be rewarded.

Recommendation 22
We recommend to institutions that they should develop a culture where each individual member of staff is aligned to the need to assist the organisation in becoming as efficient and effective as possible.

Recommendation 23
We recommend to the Government that the appropriate legislation should be enacted or invoked to establish two separate funding councils - one for further education and one for higher education - each with a separate chairman but under a single organisation and with a single chief executive.

Recommendation 24
We recommend to the Government that the proposed funding council for further education should have responsibility for funding all provision leading to qualifications offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Recommendation 25
We recommend to the Government that the proposed funding council for higher education should have responsibility for all provision offered by higher education institutions and degree provision wherever it is offered, including degree provision in the further education colleges and, when it comes on stream, the University of the Highlands and Islands Project.

Recommendation 26
We recommend to the new Quality Assurance Agency that it should be responsible for assuring the quality of all programmes offered within higher education institutions and all degree-level provision wherever it is delivered.

Recommendation 27
We recommend to the Secretary of State for Scotland that a new body - the Scottish Forum for Higher Education - should be established to advise the Secretary of State on the strategic direction of higher education in Scotland.

Funding

Recommendation 28
We recommend to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland that it should consider how it might adopt a differential funding methodology for the Access Funds so that resources are better targeted towards those institutions where the students' need is greatest.

Recommendation 29
We recommend to the Secretary of State for Scotland that, if a graduate contribution is introduced, the Secretary of State should ensure that the contribution from Scottish graduates for qualifications gained in Scotland is equitable with the contribution for comparable qualifications gained elsewhere in the UK.