Higher Education

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:39 pm on 13th June 2007.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party 2:39 pm, 13th June 2007

Hugh Henry's praise for the announcement reflected his usual generosity.

This Government will deliver on its manifesto commitments, unlike other Governments. Within three and a half weeks, we have made proposals to tackle student indebtedness and abolish tuition fees. I seem to recall a certain other Government that promised, before 1997, to get of top-up fees and not introduce them, but three months later it did indeed decide to introduce top-up fees.

We need to study the issues to do with university funding very closely indeed. That is why I met the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council and university principals last week, to discuss with them the need for more detailed information. They want to supply that information so that we can make progress. On Friday, I will meet the principals of the Scottish colleges to discuss the same issues. That is what this responsible Government will do.

Mr Henry talks about the problems facing probationary teachers. Responsibility for those problems lies with Mr Henry's Government, which caused the difficulties when it was in power. If he wants reassurance, I say to him that I hope to come to Parliament before the recess to make announcements on what I will do to help to tackle the problems that Mr Henry's party caused in education.

Had Mr Henry been listening to my statement, he would have realised that this is the first step of our progress. Our proposals are ambitious because we believe in an ambitious Scotland. We want all the people of Scotland to be involved, which will mean ensuring that children and young people from deprived areas have access to higher education and are not prevented from gaining such access, as they were under Mr Henry's Administration.