Scotland’s students should be at the heart of designing a new funding model for higher and further education says NUS Scotland President, Ellie Gomersall.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Graeme Dey, announced earlier today that the Scottish Government is investigating a new funding model for further and higher education in Scotland.
Though the Scottish Government is yet to confirm any details of the new funding model, NUS Scotland has expressed their excitement at the opportunity this presents to rebuild Scotland’s education system in a way that truly puts students at its centre.
NUS Scotland has been campaigning for a new funding model for education in their #FightingForStudents campaign, saying that the current funding model leaves students vulnerable to poverty and without support from the colleges and universities.
Earlier this year, their Cost of Survival report found that over half of all students in Scotland have skipped meals because they were unable to afford food, furthermore, 21% of students have missed a class because they could not afford public transport.
NUS Scotland has also emphasised that the current funding model relies on international students paying extortionate tuition fees to cover the gaps left by insufficient government funding for Scottish students. Despite this, international students are almost twice as likely as home students to experience homelessness during their studies.
They have called on the Scottish Government to work closely with students to design a radically new and accessible education system that centres students rather than profits.
Commenting, NUS Scotland President, Ellie Gomersall, said:
“A new funding model is an opportunity for radical change for the better; we could create an education system that is truly accessible to everyone and fosters lifelong learning. However, to do this, we must make sure that students are at the centre of all decisions.
“Students have been pointing out how broken the Scottish education system is for a long time. Increased marketisation has led to real-terms cuts in staff pay; extortionate fees for international students; and decreased support for students in financial or mental hardship. I am glad that the minister has listened to us.
“I am also pleased that the Government is including skills in the system overhaul from the outset. Apprentices are an extremely important part of our education system, and we will work with the National Society of Apprentices to make sure that the new funding model is shaped in their interests.
“Speaking for students throughout Scotland, I urge the Scottish Government to make sure students are at the centre of all decisions made about the future of the Scottish education system. No one knows what students need better than students themselves.
“I look forward to working closely with Mr Dey as we build a better future for Scotland’s students.”