MEP Upbeat On Future Of UHI

23 October 2006
SNP Highlands and Islands MEP Alyn Smith is remaining upbeat over the future of the UHI Millennium Institute despite the news today (Monday) that there is likely to be a delay in it's attainment of University status.

Speaking on the issue Mr Smith said,

"University status is vital for the marketing of this unique project across the EU and for the future growth and prosperity of the Highlands and Islands.

"The sooner the UHI is able to grant taught degree courses the sooner it can attract students from across the EU to the region and encourage people already living in the Highlands and Islands to study closer to home.

"It's disappointing that the institute is unlikely to achieve it's university title in 2007 as expected but I'm positive that every effort will be made to act on the recommendations by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) so the UHI can move forward.

Mr Smith continued,

"The QAA has recognised the high quality of teaching and student support being provided on existing UHI programmes and I believe this provides a good basis for the future. . "The UHI is a fantastic example of how we in Scotland are able to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ways of providing opportunities to our remote and rural communities.

"As the SNP prepares for government we will support the UHI in any way we can so that university status can be achieved as soon as possible."