The Scottish Universities – the body that represents higher education institutions in Scotland – has warned that the country’s economy could be in serious danger in the near future as the number of young Scots entering higher education fell to its lowest point in almost a decade.
Official figures released yesterday by the Scottish Executive showed that 46% of school leavers enrolled on degree-level courses in 2004-05 – down 2.5% on the year before.
The statistics were even worse when compared to 2001-02 when 51.5% of Scots school leavers entered higher education, according to the figures.
Robin McAlpine, a spokesman for Universities Scotland, said there were too many myths about Scotland’s place in the world when it came to participation in higher education.
The country was no longer in the top tier of countries in terms of the numbers who go to university, he said.
“Labour market projections tell us that all the new jobs in the Scottish economy in the future are going to be graduate-level jobs,” he said.
“If we can’t fill those jobs because students are being put off higher education, it could seriously hold back our economic development. Scotland has been too complacent about this for too long.”