Education Minister an 'invisible man'

19th April 1996 at 01:00
Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister, was dubbed "the invisible man of higher education" by David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of the Association of University Teachers.

Mr Robertson was "not so much a minister without portfolio but a portfolio without a minister", Mr Bleiman said. Since he had taken over responsibility for higher education he had not been seen on campus to witness the damage from "efficiency gains".

Funds available to teaching and research had been cut by 3 per cent and redundancies are "on the agenda". Casualisation of staff and fixed-term contracts would be accelerated, despite lecturers working on average 53 hours a week and during holidays.

David Baillie, Scottish Further and Higher Education Association, condemned repeated cuts in overall spending. One college, Mr Baillie said, had a 19.25 per cent rise in student numbers but only a 7.8 per cent increase in funding. Another had grown by 15 per cent but received 3 per cent while a third had 13.4 per cent growth but experienced a 5 per cent fall in funding.

"How in the name of sanity are colleges supposed to plan in the midst of this?" Mr Baillie asked.

However, Mr Baillie believed most colleges had made a success of "incorporation", a view not shared by Elinor McKenzie, former president of the College Lecturers' Association branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland, who described it as "a disaster".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now