QUESTION: Please state the party policy for the heading "Further and Higher Education". In particular, who should pay for a student's education? How much money would you invest in Scottish a) colleges and b) universities in the next two years?
Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray [candidate for East Lothian] said:
"Education is the single most important lever in transforming people's lives. From our youngest children learning to read, to research scientists on the cutting edge of new discoveries, education drives our futures and also Scotland's ability to create wealth and opportunity.
"I was the first person in family to go to university and I will not impose additional burdens on young people. Youth unemployment is unacceptably high and we have not emerged from the recession.
"That is why if I am first minister, a Labour government will not introduce any up-front fees or graduate contribution for access to higher education in the lifetime of the next Parliament. There will be no price tag on education.
"Bringing in a graduate contribution would not resolve the present financial difficulties of the universities which are the responsibility of the current SNP government.
"Experts figures show that the gap is significantly less than some had predicted and can and will be met.
"There needs to be a root and branch examination of the entire system of further and higher education. We need to fully examine the transition between school and university, how examinations can be improved and the type of courses our education system provides.
"We also need to see how the sector can be made more efficient and more responsive and how we can make the funding model can be improved to get a better fit with demand and need for graduates.
"It's clearly time to see how the student experience can be improved and how we can we improve access to higher education.
"If I am elected First Minister I will order that review immediately and ensure that our higher education sector gets the support it needs."
[SCREEN GRAB OF THIS POLICY]
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