Written by Joanna Hughes

While many of the implications of Brexit remain unknown, education leaders from Scotland made one thing clear last month: the country will remain open and welcome to EU students. Here’s a closer look at the development, as reported by News & Star.

A Welcome Message

Led by Scottish Education Minister Richard Lochhead, a delegation of Scotland’s top education leaders traveled to Brussels in December for a meeting during which they made their intent known.

Said Lochhead beforehand, “Scotland’s global reputation for groundbreaking research and innovation faces unprecedented risks. The message we are taking is simple: Scotland’s universities and research institutions are open and welcoming and we maintain a strong commitment to research collaboration across Europe.”

A Consistent Theme

Lochhead’s stance is aligned with a recent joint statement issued by the Scottish government, joined by colleges, universities and trade unions, which expressed a commitment to safeguard the higher education sector in the wake of Brexit. Additionally, the Scottish government has announced that EU students who are currently studying in the country, or will begin their studies this year or next, will maintain their eligibility for free tuition.

Scotland's move benefits its booming higher education sector as well as EU students. According to figures from Universities Scotland, Scottish universities proportionately have more staff and students from the EU than the rest of the UK: nine percent of all college students and 27 percent of full-time research staff are EU citizens.

“The quality of the research and education Scottish higher education delivers is strengthened because of the partnerships we have across the European Union. These relationships are deeply important to us and that remains the case whatever the outcomes of the Brexit process,” added Universities Scotland director Alastair Sim.

Sim also highlighted the value of sharing this message. ”It’s a message we need to keep repeating so it is not lost amidst the noise and chaos going on elsewhere,” he said.

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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