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\”Calls to break up exams authority\” -Scotland on Sunday

by Katrine Bussey

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SCOTLAND\’S exams body should be broken up to prevent a "clear conflict of interest" in the Scottish Qualifications Authority\’s roles.
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\r\nThink tank Reform Scotland also wants the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) – which funds universities and colleges – to be scrapped, with its functions transferred to the Scottish Government. The independent body makes the recommendations in a report on education published today.
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\r\nIt argues that the SQA "needs to be broken up", saying that it awards qualifications while also accrediting other bodies that award exams. Reform Scotland suggested the awards part of the SQA should become a fully independent charitable body.
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\r\nIts Power To Learn report said: "As a fully independent body it could continue to receive money from the Scottish Government under a contract to develop and award exams both in schools and colleges."
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\r\nAnd it said there was a role for the government in regulating and accrediting other awards bodies.
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\r\nReform Scotland also recommended the SFC be abolished, saying it should "be scrapped and the functions transferred back to government".
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\r\nThe report also accused some universities of discriminating against applicants who have done a higher national qualification – such as a Higher National Certificate or a Higher National Diploma – prior to applying to university. Students with these qualifications can transfer directly into the later years of a degree course.
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\r\nBut the report said some older universities were "not always the most accommodating" of this.
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\r\nAnd it added this could mean people having to undertake up to three years of extra studies, with increased costs as a result