Scotland's universities pledge to help 'deprived' students

University lecture hall Overall drop out rates for students at Scottish universities stands at 9.4%

Related Stories

Scotland's universities plan to do more to cut drop-out rates of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The pledge is part of a deal with the Scottish government about delivering more to society and the economy.

The head of Universities Scotland, Alistair Sim, believed the early signs of students struggling needed to be spotted.

He added that it was a "huge waste" when underprivileged students dropped out from their courses.

The overall non-completion rate at Scottish campuses stands at 9.4% which is one per cent above the level in England but below other countries such as Italy.

Mr Sim, who is director of Universities Scotland, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "A lot of progress has been made. What we are saying now is we are looking to converge completion rates among those coming from the most deprived backgrounds with those coming from the more privileged backgrounds. We are committed to investing further in that support.

"What you are dealing with is people with enormous educational potential but they come from backgrounds where that has not been encouraged where it should have been.

"I am struck by the statistic that if you look at the most deprived 20% of the population, only 5% are getting five Highers and that to my mind is a cultural problem and that is a huge waste of educational potential because there are so many bright people in that group.

He added that it was incumbent on universities is to give greater pastoral support and spot the early signs when students from poorer homes struggle.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Scotland politics stories


Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of

  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news

  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support

  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine


  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.