Smith Backs UHI

22 September 2010
Alyn Smith MEP, an alternate member of the European Parliament's Education Committee has today backed the UHI bid to become the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The SNP Member has submitted a response to the ongoing Scottish Government consultation on the future status of the institution. The higher education institution is the only one in the Highlands and Islands providing university-level education through a unique partnership of colleges, research and learning centres, with Smith praising in particular the pioneering use of IT in teaching delivery as a model for other institutions across the EU.

Smith said;

"It is astonishing that a region as big and unique as the Highlands and Islands does not have its own university. The UHI Millennium Institute has proved to be an incredibly successful higher education institution and gaining the title of 'University' will aid its progression immensely.  Scotland has world class education institutions, and with UHI already leading the field in the use of modern techniques to deliver teaching I have no doubt the University of the Highlands and Islands will be a leading player in European circles too.

"With increasing mobility of folk across the EU and wider, it is an economic imperative that folk are able to access top flight education, and as locally to them as possible is we are to compete and stem depopulation.

"Not only will a University of the Highlands and Islands be a boost for local economies across the HIghlands and Islands, it will also underline the crucial importance the institution plays in the lives of over 8,000 students already studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with UHI.

"A formal government consultation exercise - inviting opinion on the need for and benefits of a university in the region - is currently underway, with a deadline set for 22 November, and I urge anyone with an interest to make their views known."