University extension in Scotland c. 1886-1896

Sutherland, Douglas (2007) University extension in Scotland c. 1886-1896. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The aim of this research was to re-examine the history of university extension in Scotland. The extension movement in England made an important contribution to the development of university adult education, but in Scotland a similar scheme survived for less than ten years and had very little impact. Previous historical examinations of extension have suggested that the main reason for its failure was the relatively open nature of Scottish higher education. Because Scotland's universities (three of which were in large cities) were more accessible than those in England there was - according to this argument - little demand for the access to university-level education that extension could provide. However, this research suggests that the level of demand for extension in Scotland has been consistently underestimated. An examination of the early records of extension organisations suggests that there was substantial initial demand for extension courses and the success of two other university education schemes (the LLA and Patrick Geddes' summer schools) supports this interpretation. However, interest in extension declined very rapidly after the first two years and the evidence points to several significant weaknesses in the Scottish organisation of extension which undermined the appeal of the courses. Firstly, the certificates awarded to serious students had no academic value and were only 'university certificates' by association. The universities were passing through a period of fundamental reform and were perhaps reluctant to validate any scheme which might deprive them of students. Secondly, the local associations had great difficulty in arranging course which offered continuity of study - there was a limited supply of competent extension lecturers and the situation was exacerbated by territorial rivalry between the universities. Overall, this research has found that the lack of genuine university commitment to extension was particularly damaging to the movement. In its early years, the universities had an opportunity to pool their limited resources in a national organisation but, in the face of Glasgow's opposition to united action, went their separate ways. A national organisation with a paid full-time secretary was arguably the only way in which the Scottish universities could have achieved the level of organisation of Oxford, Cambridge or London University. They failed to promote extension independently and by 1896 the movement had collapsed.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Education history, higher education, adult education, university extension, Scotland.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Supervisor's Name: Freeman, Dr. Mark and Steele, Dr. Tom
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-71134
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2021 06:38
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71134

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