Scotland’s education crisis

The crisis facing education in Scotland is deepening. According to the BBC, classroom teachers are now being forced to purchase basic education materials such as pens and paper out of their own money.

Strike action on 30 November against the attack on pensions is being taken by most Scottish teaching unions. This follows over a year of increasing animosity and frustration by members with the Education Institute of Scotland – Scotland’s main teachers’ union. The union has spent the past period agreeing voluntary redundancy agreements. The con-sequence of these is ever-growing unemployment among newly qualified teachers as posts disappear. According to the General Teaching Council for Scotland only one newly qualified teacher in five can expect to find a full-time, permanent teaching job on completion of their induction year.

The crisis in further education is even more severe. The sector suffered a 10% cut in its budget in 2010. The Scottish government has now announced that further cuts are to be made of 13.5%, or £74 million, reducing spending from £544.7m in 2011 to £470.7m in 2014-15. Scotland’s colleges estimate that the latest cuts will axe 20,000 student places, a 14% drop. Employment in the sector has also fallen: from 16,000 to 14,900 between the second quarter 2010 and the second quarter 2011.

In October the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disabilities revealed that college places for people with learning disabilities have been cut by over one third. Of those FE institutions who replied to their survey (17 out of over 40 in Scotland) the number of part-time places for students with learning disabilities has been reduced from 2,155 to 1,413, a 34% cut.

By contrast Scottish universities will see funding increase by £135.5m over the next three years, apparently to maintain a ‘world class reputation’. Class divisions which already exist are set to increase even further. The Office for National Statistics reported in October 2011 that the number of jobless 18 to 24-year-olds in Scotland has more than doubled in the past two years to 80,000.

Fight the cuts!

Paul Mallon

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 224 December 2011/January 2012


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