An integrated qualifications framework should be developed based around level of study and earning credit points under the Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SCOTCAT) scheme.
Higher education qualifications 2
Three-year bachelors degrees, worth 360 credit points, should become more widely available backed by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC).
Honours programmes should be more diverse.
Professional bodies and institutions should link their requirements to the new qualifications framework.
Urgent attention needs to be given to achieving better value for money from the school sixth year by giving Advanced Higher courses credit ratings towards degrees and evolving a meaningful curriculum for pupils not taking Advanced Highers.
HE should clarify the combinations of A-levels which will earn advanced standing on entry.
FE and HE should collaborate to improve routes into degree programmes for FE students.
Teaching, quality and standards
Programmes should be accredited by a new UK-wide Institute for Learning and Teaching to support teaching excellence. Membership of the Institute should be open to all staff including HE lecturers in FE colleges.
The SHEFC should assess teaching quality at least every six years.
Scotland should be included in the new Quality Assurance Agency.
The SHEFC should encourage more research collaboration and consider how collaborative research centres might be set up. Additional funding should be provided for outstanding researchers. Links ought to be established between HE institutions and industry to promote work-based research training, which would allow employees to gain postgraduate qualifications through in-house research projects. The Scottish Office should develop an integrated strategy for research.
Strengthening economic links
Employers should sponsor more students and provide work experience. The Scottish Office should channel funds to create more work placements for students.
Employers should help fill vacancies for high quality lay members on HE governing bodies.
Legislation should be introduced to break the link between the rector and the chairmanship of university courts.
Institutions should make better use of facilities and resources. Staff should be rewarded for useful ideas.
HE staff should be made aware of the need to help their institution become efficient and effective .
There should be two separate funding councils, one for FE and one for HE, each with a separate chairman but under a single organisation and with a single chief executive.
The FE funding council should support all courses leading to qualifications offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, and the HE council should fund provision wherever it is offered including degree courses in FE colleges.
The new Quality Assurance Agency should audit all degree provision.
The Secretary of State for Scotland should establish a Scottish Forum for Higher Education to advise on the strategic direction of HE in Scotland.
The Student Awards Agency for Scotland should consider how it might adopt a differential funding method for access funds so that resources are better targeted towards institutions where student needs are greatest.
If a graduate contribution is introduced, the Secretary of State should ensure that Scottish graduates pay only as much as graduates elsewhere in Britain.