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Support for Higher Education Governance Bill highlighted.
The Higher Education Governance Bill will enhance universities' globally renowned reputation for Excellence.
Speaking ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate on the Bill, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance underlined the key principles of the legislation, which will create greater transparency and openness in Scottish Higher Education.
Ms Constance also highlighted the ongoing opportunity for stakeholders to shape how elements of the final legislation will look. She said:
"The key aim of the Bill is to strengthen governance in the sector and enable institutions to embrace greater transparency and openness. This Bill will not advance ministerial control, affect universities' autonomy and presents no threat to their financial wellbeing. Neither will it undermine the position of rector at our ancient institutions. We have been clear on that point since the outset.
"It will ensure institutions are more inclusive, enabling every voice on campus to be heard – helping students and staff to be more involved in making decisions. NUS Scotland and the UCU have added their support to those principles, and ahead of the Stage 1 debate, there is still ample opportunity for other stakeholders to work constructively with us to shape some of the detail, such as how chairs of court would be elected.
"We will continue to invest significantly in our higher education institutions, at the same time as they modernise their internal structures. We would always seek to avoid any risk of re-classification of higher education institutions as public sector bodies by the Office for National Statistics – the Bill's provisions do not increase that risk.
"Scotland's universities are autonomous bodies – and will remain so after the passing of the Bill. Modernised governance will help add to their excellent international reputation."