Tag Archives: Scotland

Diploma to Degree: A Global Progression Pathway Made in Scotland

March 8th, 2019


  • Introducing the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • SQA Qualifications
  • Quality Assurance
  • SQA International markets and SQA Diploma to Degree offerings
  • Partnership working with ACEI
  • Working with us

SQA wants to establish progression pathways for its international students who, on completion of an SQA Advanced Qualification in their own country wish to articulate to a related Degree program at an institution in the U.S.

U.S. colleges may wish to work in partnership with SQA and deliver SQA Advanced Qualifications either jointly with their own provision or as an alternative provision. In doing so, U.S. institutions can internationalize their campus by working with SQA, SQA’s existing progression partners and centers around the world. Once a pathway is established, SQA will work in partnership with the receiving institution and promote the progression pathway to its students and centers around the world.


Who Will Benefit

  • Admissions Officers interested in recruiting international students
  • Staff with an interest in progression pathways from college based learning into higher education
  • Higher education policy makers with an interest in progression routes for lifelong learning and bridging the academic/vocational divide
  • Credential Evaluation Bodies
  • Community College Staff
  • University Staff

Thursday, March 21, 2019

10 AM – 11 AM PST

Free Webinar

Register Now

Your Presenters:

Mags Hutchinson
International Articulation Manager
Scottish Qualifications Authority


Mags has been employed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority for 18 years. Initially she worked in Qualifications Development, developing and maintaining qualifications to service the Engineering sector. In her current role as International Articulation Manager she seeks to build relationships with Community Colleges and Higher Education Institutions in the US.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President & CEO
Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute


Jasmin is a leading expert on international education and credential evaluation methodologies. She has authored several publications on world education systems, and is a regular presenter at regional, national and international conferences. She is currently the Acting President of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, and serves on the International Education Standards Council of AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers).


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Filed under Credentials, Education

Scotland and the Three-Year Bachelor degree

January 22nd, 2015


The four-year undergraduate degree for Scotland’s universities, as noted in the Times Higher Education is the “gold standard” and seen as a “broader and more flexible” alternative to the narrow, focused three-year bachelor degree programs offered by universities in the rest of the UK. This viewpoint may be less of the norm as there is now a push to introduce three-year programs in Scotland as demonstrated by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

By introducing what the University of the Highlands and Islands refers to as the “accelerated” B.Sc. in geography to be introduced in September 2015, the goal is to allow students to complete their degree in a faster and shorter time-line and save on tuition. It appears that other institutions, such as the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Queen Margaret University share the same sentiment having already adopted the three-year Bachelor degree structure.

Late last year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in India put the kibosh on the four-year degree movement spearheaded by the likes of the University of Delhi and several other technical universities. The UGC threatened to cut funding support should the institutions pursue the four-year degree structure despite the arguments raised by faculty and academicians championing the idea of expanding the three-year program by another year to include a research component and additional courses at the advanced level, particularly in the sciences. They viewed this move as essential if India intended to be competitive globally in the area of scientific research and development. The UGC, however, viewed the additional year as a financial burden.

Affordability and efficiency of four-year degrees versus the three-year degree is an issue being discussed by policy and decision makers in education and institutions of higher education.
Looking at India and now Scotland, one begs the question: Is the four-year degree too time-consuming and expensive? Or, is the push to do away with the four-year degree and justify the efficiencies and affordability of the three-year degree a marketing tactic to attract students who find the shorter and less expensive program more attractive? The elimination of the fourth year will also mean a reduction in revenue for institutions that adopt the three-year stream, but would it be compensated by an increase in student population finding the three-year Bachelor more palatable?

Supporters of the four-year Bachelor’s degree in Scotland echo the sentiments of their counterparts at India’s institutions of higher education. Both groups see the importance of the fourth year as offering a more holistic approach to teaching and learning, allowing for broad-based training in the humanities and sciences. Reverting to a three-year program is seen by those in Scotland’s historic universities as a step back and diminishing the graduate’s competitive edge in the job market, especially globally. After all, the four-year degree is still preferred over the three-year degree on the global job market.

What is interesting is that though some universities in Scotland have launched the three-year programs, they are still using the four-year degree credit structure as their model. While in the rest of the UK, a three-year degree requires completion of 360 credits for the bachelor’s, the three-year programs in Scotland require 480 credits that is the requirement for the four-year degree. Typically, students in the three-year programs in Scotland take an additional module per semester to meet the 480 credits. Some universities in Scotland have adjusted their academic calendar by shortening the holidays in the second and third years so that students can complete the additional modules and credits within three-years.

Scotland’s universities are also seeing that certain three-year degree programs may be more attractive to students while popularity for traditional four-year degrees continues to attract a higher number of students. This is mostly because university tuition remains free and for that reason Scottish students are more likely to sign up for the four-year degrees. The three-year degrees may be an attractive option for international students faced with higher tuition fees and additional costs related to travel, room and board and living away from home.

Though Scotland’s universities are pushing the three-year degree, at this time, it appears that they have not yet cut out a year of coursework but rearranged the academic calendar to accommodate completion of the same number of credits required in the four-year degree. The three-year degree to me appears to be an “accelerated” four-year program, at least for the time being, and will probably be an attractive alternative to students who have a clear idea of their career goals and mature students who wish to complete a degree in less time to return to the workplace.

While Scotland is entertaining the adoption of the three-year Bachelor’s and India is putting a stop to the movement to expand the three-year to a four-year degree, here in the U.S., Community Colleges will soon be introducing four-year bachelor’s degree. This move will definitely make the community colleges offering the four-year bachelor’s an affordable, accessible alternative to higher education. I’ll have more on the US community college four-year bachelor’s in my next blog.

Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert
President & CEO, ACEI




Filed under Credentials, Education, Human Interest, Travel

25 Interesting Facts About Scotland

September 11th, 2014


On September 16, 2014, Scotland will hold a referendum that will decide its independence from the United Kingdom. Scotland is a sovereign state in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is part of the UK’s constitutional monarchy. If the referendum in favor of independence gathers the votes it needs, Scotland will secede from the UK.

As we wait in anticipation of the outcome of the referendum, we felt it would be helpful to learn more about this country and share with you a few interesting facts.


1. Scotland was an independent country and never took kindly to invaders but nevertheless it unified with England in 1707 when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of both England and Scotland after the death eased Queen Elizabeth I. Their merger formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain giving rise to factions which to this day opposed the unification. For more history check this link: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandshistory/

Geography & People


2. The Flag of Scotland is a white X-shaped cross, which represents the cross of the patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew on a blue field. The flag is called the Saltire or the Saint Andrew’s Cross.

3. Scotland includes over 790 islands. These include groups called Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides.

4. The population of Scotland in 2011 was around 5.3 million.

5. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh while the largest city is Glasgow. Other major cities include Aberdeen and Dundee.

Image: Edinburgh

6. Scotland has three officially recognized languages: English, Scots (a relative of English) and Scottish Gaelic (a completely different language).


7. As part of the UK, Scotland’s education system is separate and governed from within Scotland.

8. Scotland emphasizes on a broad education system and was the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education.

9. There are 14 Scottish universities some of which are the oldest universities in the world.

10. The University of St Andrews, founded in 1413, is the third oldest university in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge. It welcomed Britain’s first female student in 1862. It is also where the world’s first students’ union came into existence in 1882.


11. The world’s first infant school was opened by philosopher and pedagogue Robert Owen in New Lanark in 1816.

Economy & Resources

12. Aberdeen has become an important center for the oil industry after the finding of oil in the North Sea.

13. Edinburgh is Europe’s fifth largest financial center.

14. Scotland offers free water for its citizens, although oil and nuclear energy are governed by the UK.

15. Although their health system is part of the greater National Health Service, Scotland controls its implementation (which allows them to provide free prescriptions to everyone, something England does not do).

Government & Judicial System

16. Scotland also has its own judicial system and unlike most western systems, courts can reach the decision of guilty, not guilty, or not proved.

17. The police force of Scotland is separate from that of the rest of the UK.

18. Scotland also has its own distinct parliament, which is chaired by the First Minister of Scotland.


19. Notable Scottish inventions include: the method of logarithms (1614), tarmac (1820), first-ever house to be lit by gas (1784), the waterproof raincoat (1823), the hot blast furnace (1828), the modern, rear-wheel driven bicycle (1839), the pneumatic tire (1845) and reinvented in a more practical way (1887) known today as Dunlop Rubber (now under the joint ownership of Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber Industries), and the discovery of the anesthetic properties of chloroform in 1847 which was successfully introduced for general medical use. (There are many more inventions by Scottish inventors, a list too long for this blog. For more information check this link: http://listverse.com/2014/01/05/10-things-you-should-know-about-scotland/)

Fun / Odd Facts

20. Genetic studies are now pointing that the mutation for red hair, which now reaches a world maximum in Western Scotland and Northern Ireland, may have originated in Central Asia too. This means that Scottish people may be (partly) descended from ancient people from Central Asia. Surprised? So were we, so here’s one source: www.eupedia.com


21. Archaeological evidence suggests that the first toilets ever were possibly built in Orkney, Scotland in 3,000 BC.

22. Scotland is reputed for its whisky, known outside Scotland as Scotch Whisky. Yet, what few people know is that whisky was in fact invented in China, and was first distilled by monks in Ireland in the early 15th century before reaching Scotland 100 years later.

23. The most infamous Scottish dish is haggis, normally made with sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately an hour.


24. Kilts, tartans and bagpipes aren’t Scottish inventions. Kilts originated in Ireland. Tartans ere found in Bronze-age or Iron-age Central Europe (Hallstatt culture) and Central Asia (Tocharian culture). Bagpipes might also be an ancient invention from Central Asia. These could be debated so here’s the link to the source http://www.tamos.net/~rhay/shenkman.html.


25. A few more Scottish dishes known for their odd names include: Forfar Bridie (a meat pastry), Cock-a-leekie (soup), Collops (escalope), Crappit heid (fish dish), Finnan haddie (haddock fish), Arbroath Smokie (smoked haddock), Cullen Skink (haddock soup), Partan bree (seafood dish), Mince and tatties (minced meat and potatoes), Rumbledethumps, Skirlie and so on. And, of course, there is the ubiquitous shortbread, Scotland’s most famous cookie.

Bonus fact!

26. Scotland, the official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn, appreciated for its purity and strength. http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/scottish-fact-of-the-week-scotland-s-official-animal-the-unicorn-1-2564399 .


It was King James I who drew up a new royal coat of arms that included both the traditional English lion as well as the Scottish Unicorn. According to folklore (going back to the ancient Babylonians in 3,500 B.C.), the lion and the unicorn hate each other. The Unicorn is seen as representing spring and the lion representing summer. Each year the two fight for supremacy, and each year the lion eventually wins. A popular English nursery rhyme sums up the animosity and the old wars between England and Scotland:

The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
All round about the town.

The lion’s supremacy may come to an end, if Scotland’s upcoming referendum tilts in favor of independence and secession. The unicorn will prove to be the victor after all.

Slainte! (That’s Good Health in Scots)




Filed under Education, History, Human Interest, Travel