Main arguments in support of removal of the legislative prohibition
16. The main comments received in support of the legislative prohibition being fully removed are summarised as follows:
- It will bring St. Andrews University in line with the other medical schools in Scotland and allow the University to award the ScotGEM PMQ jointly with the University of Dundee.
- St. Andrews University should be able to operate on an equal basis with other universities in relation to any current or future developments or commissions for a new medical or dentistry degree provider, such as the 2019 Programme for Government (PfG) commitment to develop proposals for a new medical school.
- The proposed legislative change would support the development of a medical workforce for Scotland across a choice of universities.
- ScotGEM students enrolled to their programme of study with the clear expectation that their degree would be jointly awarded by the University of St. Andrews and the University of Dundee. For a number of students, this joint award was an important factor in their decision to apply. It is a matter of fairness to ScotGEM students that they receive a joint degree.
- Whilst the University of Dundee alone would be able to award the ScotGEM degree, this is not the degree that ScotGEM students believed they were embarking on.
- There would be deep disappointment and frustration amongst the ScotGEM student cohort if the proposal to remove the restriction was not accepted. If students were to graduate with only the University of Dundee badge it would not reflect the reality and lived experience of being a ScotGEM student. This should be reflected in the resulting degree certificates and the law.
- If the ScotGEM degree were to be awarded by the University of Dundee alone, this may decrease the attractiveness of the programme to students which would have a negative impact on the programme and on both universities.
- The University of St. Andrews is the only academic institution in the UK that is legally barred from awarding PMQs. The legal prohibition is anomalous and so it is appropriate to remove it.
- As the prohibition relates to the controlled subjects of medicine and dentistry, its removal is not determinative of the University's ability to award medical and dentistry degrees.
- The legal prohibition serves no modern purpose.
- There is no disadvantage in repealing the prohibition.
- The 1966 Act did not originally intend to prevent the University from offering medical and dentistry degrees. The legislation is therefore now fundamentally unfair.