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Saturday, 12 August, 2000, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Galbraith urged to resign
Exams graphic
Sam Galbraith has been urged to recall results
Scottish Education Minister Sam Galbraith has come under pressure to resign over the Highers results fiasco.

The Scottish National Party called on the Labour politician to step down after he had failed to take appropriate action to prevent the problems in the first place.

But Mr Galbraith says he is staying put and would make every effort to ensure the problems were solved as "soon as possible".

There are still calls for the reissuing of all Higher and Standard grade exam certificates in Scotland after it was admitted by the Scottish Executive that some students received inaccurate results.

The SNP and an education expert said the errors cast serious doubt on all results and steps should be taken to review and resend them.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon: "All of the resuts have to be rechecked"
The party's education spokeswoman, Nicola Sturgeon, said Mr Galbraith had been warned there would be problems but had ignored this advice and had not taken appropriate action.

The SNP now wants the Scottish Executive to give a guarantee that no Scottish student would lose a university place because English students will have received their A level results before accurate Higher results become available.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Given that the education minister has admitted that some of the results may be inaccurate, then at the very least all of the results have to be rechecked by the Scottish Qualifications Authority as a matter of urgency.

'Restore confidence'

"If inaccuracies are uncovered then I think that regrettably the whole process of marking and the issuing of certificates must be done again.

"At the moment, nobody has any confidence in this system and the priority must be to restore that confidence."

Professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, Lindsay Paterson, said the whole process had become so compromised that the only solution was to start again.

"All pupils' results must now be cast into doubt," he stated.

"I can't see how the universities and employers can possibly have any confidence that any of the results that have been issued are reliable. It's scandalous."

'Totally irresponsible'

The Highers controversy began after problems resulted in delays in issuing results to about 2,000 pupils and the distribution of incomplete certificates to hundreds of others.

The crisis has proved damaging for the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which has responsibility for managing the results and Ucas - the UK-wide university admissions service.

Concern and anxiety over the results, which should have been received on Thursday, was further compounded on Friday when Mr Galbraith admitted that some inaccurate results had been posted.

He said it was "totally irresponsible" to claim that these problems cast doubt on every certificate issued by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Prof Lindsay Paterson
Prof Lindsay Paterson: "It's scandalous"
However, he added: "The SQA, with the help of teachers and education authorities, are working round the clock to resolve urgently every single case where a student has received incomplete results, and to investigate the inaccuracies which have emerged for a small number of candidates."

The Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals (Coshep) has given assurances that no pupil affected would lose a university place.

Coshep director, David Caldwell, said on Friday that the body wanted the Scottish Qualifications Authority to tell it within 24 hours how it intended to resolve the crisis.

Ucas has announced that pupils will be able to call a helpline to find out if they have a university place.

The helpline, which will open on Monday at 0800 BST, can be contacted on 01242 227788. Queries can also be sent by email.

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See also:

11 Aug 00 | Scotland
Plea for parliament exams probe
16 May 00 | Scotland
D-day for Scottish pupils
25 May 00 | UK Systems
Higher education
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