The EIS commissioned research into ‘for profit provision’ (i.e. private firms) in the Scottish Higher Education sector.

The successful bid was made by Dr Mark Murphy of the University of Glasgow, and his report for the EIS can be found here.

The report maps the presence of ‘for profit providers’ across and within Scottish Universities and identifies issues arising from the presence of these ‘for profit providers’. A section of the report’s summary is copied below:

"The findings of this study suggest that, while the growth of for-profit HE in Scotland has limits, its presence in the sector should be taken seriously – seriously in the sense that it provides opportunities for alternative models of provision while also offering a potential threat to traditional academic values and work practices.

"The survey results in particular suggest that academic staff in Scottish higher education are not convinced of the merits of for-profit forms of HE, the results indicating a strong level of resistance to such partnership models.

"The concerns detailed here around academic preparedness, quality of outcome and experience and, not least, value systems, should be taken seriously by institutions which are seeking efficiency gains in the current prolonged period of austerity.”

From the EIS perspective, the report identifies a number of key issues arising from the partnerships that these for profit providers have with a number of Scottish Universities. Some of these partnerships allow the ‘for profit providers’  to recruit and enrol students for study at their centre within a  Scottish University, and then to guarantee articulation onwards to the host Scottish University.

This means that in some cases that ‘for profit providers’ effectively recruit students directly into Scottish Universities. The report deals with the academic concerns of university academic staff that arise from students that have been educated and selected by a third party  that makes a profit from these students.

The EIS opposes using ‘for profit providers’ to recruit or educate students in Scottish Universities.