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At last, a lesson for Wales

Scotland, for long an envious onlooker of educational and cultural progress in Wales, at last has something to teach the principality, it seems.

Alwyn Evans, a former chief adviser from Wales, said he had been impressed with the developing University of the Highlands and Islands. "The UHI is the democratisation of education," Mr Evans said. "It brings education far closer to the people who would otherwise have great difficulty in accessing it."

John Norman MacLeod, head of studies at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, said it created great interest among the delegates that there are 14 campuses and around 50 learning centres in the UHI Millennium Institute.

Mr MacLeod said that the UHI was trying to attract students from outwith Scotland and conferences such as Interskola would help to lift its profile abroad. "They also help us to investigate co-operation with other areas of the world," he added.

Other countries are keeping an eye on developments, it appears. Norman Gillies, director of Sabhal Mor, said a German delegate hoped the venture would succeed because he could foresee areas of Germany benefiting from the UHI experience.

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