Former wonders: a little paradise called Cumbrae

The UK is often underrated in terms of biodiversity and natural wonders.

Throughout the country, little pieces of heaven show their wealth to those who dare to challenge the moody weather.
The many islands of Scotland, for instance, are filled with beautiful specimens and landscapes that we often cherish in foreign countries. From the delicate birds that wake us up with sweet tunes, the curious funky seals who welcome those in harmless boats and brave kayaks, to the less appreciated wild rabbits; there are also goats, colourful jellyfishes, huge salmon, and tons of shellfish that delight biology students and ocean enthusiasts alike. All these marvellous bits of life, together with stunning sunsets, make Great Cumbrae a place that deserves touristic appreciation.

It is, however, a shame that the most important icon of the island, the institution that brings most people, especially young pals with living joy, has been closed this past January. The University of Marine Biological Sciences, based in Millport but owned by the University of London (UoL), was apparently forgotten by the capital and therefore shut down under claims of economic losses. Although to the naked eye this may sound normal and logical, we should bear in mind that the marine station is the only one in the UK that serves both educational and teaching purposes and that the economic losses derive most likely from the lack of attention that the London father has paid to it.

For reasons unknown, the various undergraduate and postgraduate courses were offered exclusively to students from the UoL and the University of Glasgow. How many other students from other universities, be they British or not, would not love the opportunity to take a field course, on a beautiful island, where they could discover in first hand the practical aspects of their future profession? How many students would be happy to pay for that same course if they knew of its existence and if they were allowed?

Is this the path the British higher education wants to take? A path of abrupt tuition fees rise and consistent decreases in educational offers? Are not these courses, specialised institutions and personalised teaching programmes the pearls of so-called British Higher Education? Is not this a part of what makes students from all over the world want to move into the country of the afternoon tea to pursue their academic degree?

How are we going to justify the expense of our universities if we continue to ignore our assets in the name of profit to disguise bad management and a centralised administration?