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Impartial public education scheme vital for independence debate

Experts call for “an impartial, informative and accessible” public education programme on Scottish independence

In light of the launch of the Yes campaign for Scottish independence, a group of experts at the University has issued a statement recommending an inclusive, unbiased public education programme on Scottish independence.

"A referendum involving such a fundamental option for change as independent statehood is clearly an event of enormous significance. Given that significance, we believe that particular emphasis should be given to ensuring that all groups within the electorate are sufficiently well-informed to be able to give a reasoned judgement. This will help to ensure that the outcome of the referendum is legitimate and authoritative. There should be a commitment to – and substantial funding for – a campaign of public education which would be rigorously impartial, informative, accessible and attentive to the needs of different social groups, including those for various reasons known to be ‘hard to reach’. It may be that the Electoral Commission could be charged to carry out, and be funded for, such a role, drawing as appropriate from the wealth of expertise available in Scotland – in the universities, the voluntary sector and other non-aligned groupings. Such a role was performed admirably by the Directeur général des élections in the 1980 and 1995 referendums in Quebec."

Signed Dr Nicola McEwen, Professor Charlie Jeffery, Dr Wilfried Swenden, Dr Eve Hepburn, Dr Ailsa Henderson and Dr Fiona Mackay

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