Minister for Further Education, Higher Education, and Science, Minister for Mental Health, and Minister for Local Government, Housing, and Planning all attended the event at the Scottish Parliament hosted in partnership with NUS Scotland. This is their joint statement:
Students’ associations are at the heart of campus life, making students’ voices heard and providing advice, support, and vital services. Student presidents play a key role in representing their members’ interests. In the last year, the Scottish Government, NUS Scotland, and students’ associations have been working together to give every student a transformative experience which allows them to flourish.
We want to celebrate what we have achieved together, but also challenge each other to go further. We are pleased to be able to announce an additional £36,000 of Scottish Government funding for the Think Positive campaign in 2019/20, which will support an accelerated rollout of Student Mental Health Agreements across Scotland. Students at 25 institutions already benefit from these agreements, which support improved staff training, mental health policies, and student wellbeing services. This funding will allow the programme to expand more rapidly, complementing the 80 additional counsellors which will be introduced over the next four years in line with the commitment in the 2018/19 Programme for Government.
We will continue to use our collective influence in other ways too. As laid out in the joint statement on Leaving the European Union, we will work together to protect Scotland’s universities and colleges from the risks posed by Brexit. We will continue to call on the UK Government to introduce a post-study work route in Scotland and to provide clarity over its plans for maintaining the Erasmus+ programme in the event of Brexit. Scotland’s universities and colleges benefit greatly from Scotland’s relationship with the rest of Europe and we will work together to ensure this continues to grow.
We will continue to work together across the sector to eradicate gender-based violence on our campuses, supporting the continued rollout of Equally Safe in Colleges and Universities. We will take forward the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access and our work on the independent Review of Student Support, working to widen access to higher education, and increasing and expanding access to bursaries for students from the lowest-income families. Together we will ensure that further and higher education is open to every young person in Scotland on an equal basis, whatever their background, and that they are supported to flourish throughout their time studying.
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