Month in review – further education, higher education and science
Round up including welcome further and higher education statistics, a report on the science landscape in Scotland and steps to improve student mental health.
Further and higher education statistics
A number of statistics released recently have painted an impressive picture of Scotland’s further and higher landscape.
We learned that more students from the most deprived areas in Scotland are being offered places at university, and that a record number of full-time first degree students at Scottish universities last year were from the most deprived areas in Scotland.
Meanwhile, Scottish Funding Council (SFC) statistics showed that we’ve seen a higher proportion of students from Scotland’s most deprived areas successfully completing college courses, as well as more students with disabilities.
Commenting on the statistics, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead said:
“The commitments we have made on widening access and increasing attainment in further and higher education are big ones. I welcome the fact that we are making good progress on these targets and I am especially pleased to see headway being made on the number of students from our most deprived areas having success in colleges and universities. There is always more to do in this regard, and I would encourage all of our colleges and universities to build on the good progress that has already been made.”
The science landscape in Scotland
A new report published by the Scottish Science Advisory Council has shown that Scotland continues to punch above its weight in science and research. The report compared how Scottish science and research performed over the past devade against other similar sized countries and found that Scotland’s researchers are productive, produce high quality work and are global in their outlook.
Richard Lochhead welcomed the report and the strong picture it paints of Scotland’s science and research landscape. However, he reflected that the sector faces unprecedented challenges in light of Brexit:
“We can’t rest on our laurels or ignore the challenges we face but it is truly astonishing that a country the size of Scotland continues to lead the world in many areas of science and innovation.”
Student mental health
The Further and Higher Education Minister jointly hosted a roundtable discussion with NUS Scotland to hear from students’ association presidents from across the country. Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart also attended to answer questions from students on the issues that matter to them.
At this event, an additional £36,000 of funding was announced for NUS Scotland’s Think Positive campaign. This will fund an additional full-time officer for 2019-2020 who will work to expand Student Mental Health Agreements. These agreements bring students’ associations and their institutions together to work jointly on mental health issues.
Further and Higher Education Minister @RichardLochhead, Ministerial colleagues and @NUSScotland welcomed student presidents to a #StudentRoundtable today where additional funding for @thinkposNUS student mental health work was announced.
— ScotGov Education (@ScotGovEdu) January 29, 2019