Major boost for academic freedom


IFUT has welcomed a new report recommending all third-level colleges in Scotland to "adopt and incorporate the definition of Academic Freedom which is contained in Ireland's Universities Act, 1997".
The Report, a high-level Review of Governance in Higher Education in Scotland, was commissioned by the Scottish Government and was published on 16 January last. The core recommendation in the Report is based on work done by academics in Ireland on this topic. The relevant section reads: "In implementing the Irish provision, Trinity College Dublin adopted a 'Policy on Academic Freedom' in December 2010, which was the result of an initiative of the College's Academic Staff Association, IFUT, and which was developed in a Special Working Group established by the College". The Report goes on to recommend that the TCD/IFUT Policy Statement should be treated by the Scottish Funding Council as a pre-condition for the award of university financial support, "or, in the case of the establishment of a new university, as a condition to be satisfied before university status is granted".
Mike Jennings, General Secretary, said: "It should be a source of pride for all Irish citizens and, in particular those who care about the quality of our universities, that a provision in Irish legislation is being held up internationally as a model to be emulated. We in IFUT, the primary representative organisation of Irish academics, are enormously proud of our colleagues in our TCD Branch, who produced a document which is not only going to be applied in every university in Scotland, but is, we are aware, being discussed and praised in Higher Education Institutions right across the world".
The IFUT Media Release is available here
The General Secretary's unpublished letter to The Irish Times on this topic is available here.
The Report is available on the Scottish Government Website. Background to the Report and related documents are available here: Review of HE Governance.
We are currently developing the Academic Freedom section of our Website.
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