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Educational inequality set to worsen after pandemic

THE coronavirus pandemic threatens to entrench inequality in Scottish education unless the government acts to avoid creating a “two-tier system of access” to universities, Labour has warned

MSPs have said that action must be taken now, alongside the Scottish universities, to ensure that efforts to widen access are shared equally among institutions. 

Data from the Scottish Funding Council’s report on widening access shows that just 10.6 per cent of entrants to the country’s four “ancient” universities in 2018-19 were from Scotland’s most deprived areas, compared with more than 18 per cent in institutions that were awarded university status after 1992, and 13.2 per cent at all other sites. 

Labour MSP Iain Gray said: “We know that the pandemic will only exacerbate inequality in Scottish education.

“It is for that reason that efforts to widen university access to those from deprived backgrounds are now more vital than ever. 

“However, it is clear that the responsibility to do this is currently unequally shared, with Scotland’s newest universities accepting the highest proportion of applicants from disadvantaged areas.” 

The call comes after a solidarity rally for Scottish members of the University and College Union yesterday afternoon, which called for jobs in the sector to be defended.

The online event brought together staff and students from across Scotland to highlight universities’ ongoing use of face-to-face teaching, despite the dangers to those on campus.


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