Devolution in Scotland and the Case Study of the Scottish Higher Education System
The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, however Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are devolved nations with devolved powers within the UK. This paper focuses on the case of Scotland and analyzes for which reason and in which way Scottish devolution was achieved. Before joining England in 1707, Scotland was an independent country; even after the Union, the country was able to maintain some distinctive features and a certain grade of autonomy, therefore the will of the Scots to obtain more local powers from Westminster. This can be seen as the origin of the devolution of powers which was finally reached in the 1990s in Scotland, after several previous attempts. An important role is played by the Scottish Parliament which can legislate on the matters that are not reserved to Westminster. Beyond historical aspects on devolution, this paper focuses also on the case study of Scottish higher education system as an example of a devolved matter. Several are the differences from the English education system that have emerged after devolution, mostly regarding tuition fees for students.