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Recommendations for the future of Scotland’s college and university system have been published today by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).
They stem from a wide-ranging review, commissioned last year by the Scottish Government, on the coherence and sustainability of tertiary education  and  research in the wake of the global pandemic.
Informed by comprehensive stakeholder  engagement, the report sets out the significant strengths of Scotland’s colleges and universities, the challenges they will face over the coming years, and recommends ways to continue to secure good outcomes for current and future students in terms of fair access, good quality learning environments, and readiness for their next steps in the world;  for employers and the changing world of work; and for wider social and economic benefit, as we tackle the climate emergency and protect discovery research that will enable us to live healthy lives. The current system is financially pressured, and SFC’s recommendations aim to support colleges and universities as they decide how best to remain sustainable, deal with unparalleled uncertainty, and adapt to international and domestic changes. SFC recommends greater collaboration across colleges and universities, the development of longer term public funding assumptions to help institutions plan for and with students, investment in more targeted research, better recognition of the importance of international education, and more systematic engagement with employers to respond to their needs. 
SFC Chair Mike Cantlay, said: 
“This review has brought together the expertise and experience of countless participants. I am incredibly grateful to all of them for being so generous with their time and expertise amongst the many other demands of the past year. 
“It is clear that we come from a position of strength with some of the best colleges and universities in the world.  However, we are living in uncertain and changing times and we need to create the conditions for a tertiary education, skills and research system that can be more responsive not only to learners but to the economic, cultural and social needs of Scotland. 
“We look forward to working with partners to deliver on the many recommendations set out in our Report that will enable us to respond effectively and at pace, and set ambitious pathways for the future.”
The full report, Coherence and Sustainability: A review of Tertiary Education and Research is now available on the Scottish Funding Council’s website.