News at a glance

18th July 2014 at 01:00

Zero-hours contracts condemned in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University has been criticised for continuing to employ lecturers on zero-hours contracts. It was condemned by the University and College Union for advertising lecturing posts with the casual employment agreements. UCU leaders wrote to the university this week repeating calls to end the use of the contracts, which it said were "bad news" for staff and students alike. Earlier this year, the union gave evidence to the Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which accused universities of "unashamed exploitation". Some universities and colleges have pledged to abandon zero-hours contracts, but others defended their use, saying that staff enjoyed "associated benefits".

Debating life after the referendum

Young people are being invited to a historic school to debate Scotland's future - at an event to be held after the referendum. The Loretto School lecture entitled "What Now for Scotland?" will take place in October and is open to anyone who wants to discuss the implications and aftermath of the vote on 18 September. The free talk at the independent Edinburgh school will be delivered by commentator and former newspaper editor Magnus Linklater.

University applications at record high

Record numbers of people applied to study at Scottish universities this year, the latest statistics reveal. Figures from the University and Colleges Admissions Service show that the total number of applications to study in Scotland rose to 113,030, the highest yet. There were also peaks in the number of people in Scotland applying to universities in the UK and to Scottish institutions. All three increases were 2 per cent up on 2013 figures. The SNP said the growth "proved" that Scotland - which has maintained free higher education while tuition fees of up to pound;9,000 a year were introduced south of the border - could be a successful independent nation.

School memorial honours war dead

To mark the centenary of the First World War, Scottish pupils have created a new memorial to honour soldiers from their school who died during the conflict. A group of 79 pupils at Hamilton Grammar in South Lanarkshire have created a work of art illustrating the life and death of each of the 79 staff and boys from the school - then known as Hamilton Academy - who were killed. Their work was based on research into the individual stories of soldiers whose names were listed on an existing memorial.

Millions of learning hours lost, Labour claims

Young people are being denied the opportunity to "get on in life" because of the Scottish government's "disgraceful record" on colleges, the Scottish Labour Party has said. Education spokeswoman Kezia Dugdale claimed the SNP had targeted colleges for cuts, and "the consequence has been young people and second-chance learners being denied opportunities to get on in life". An analysis of Colleges Scotland statistics by the party reveals that 9.7 million fewer hours of learning were provided at Scottish colleges in 2012-13 than in 2009-10, while the number of staff dropped by 6,925.

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