As per tradition, higher education in Scotland is supposed to be free for Scottish citizens but as politics interfered with the system, under the previous Labour-Lib Dem alliance at Holyrood, Scottish students paid money after graduating as “back-end tuition fees”. SNP leader, Alex Salmond questioned the need for the debate called by Labour leader Johann Lamont, on whether the students should pay tuition fees for higher education.
|Image Courtesy : The Guardian, UK|
He also pointed out that the website of the Scottish Labour still retained the commitment that no Scottish student should have to pay up-front or back-end tuition fees for higher education. He compared Labour to the Liberal Democrats. The party broke the promise to oppose raise in tuition fees ‘south of the border, which made leader Nick Clegg apologise.
Salmond also asked politicians to take a look at the happenings in England where students have to pay a minimum of £9000, per annum for tuition fees. He has asked them to "maintain the commitment that they made in this chamber by huge majority to not have up-front or back-end tuition fees in Scotland".
"They bear a remarkable resemblance to the pledge Nick Clegg signed before his party nose-dived." - The First Minister
Ms. Lamont was challenged by Salmond to,
"actually return to the roots not just of the Labour Party and the SNP, but the Scottish tradition of free education, so we can say with confidence to the students of Scotland, not just next year but for all time, that free education will be part of the Scottish tradition - not just for Christmas but for all time."
This political repartee led to Lamont telling Salmond,
"The price that the First Minister denies of his education choices is cuts in college places and our schools with a growing gap between the rich and the poor. He knows that and perhaps in the New Year he might want to confront the reality of it."
The political battle between the parties members reached a point to where Lamont accused Salmond of spending £500,000 to “watch a game of golf” in America where Salmond was “promoting” Scotland. So, basically now as the two parties are trying to outdo the other, the only beneficial outcome can be free education for Scottish students. After things are sorted out the ‘Christmas gift’ might just turn out to be a permanent solution to education funding issues for Scottish citizens.