Scotland's international education strategy

Scotland’s International Education Strategy sets out a framework to cement Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in education, research and knowledge exchange, working with universities and colleges to attract students and staff from outside the UK.

Ministerial Foreword

The Scottish Government (SG), along with Scotland’s universities and colleges, warmly welcome international students, staff, and researchers to our world leading institutes.

The publication of this, our first International Education Strategy for Scotland, arrives shortly after we proudly welcomed Going Global to Edinburgh. That international conference for higher education, hosted by the British Council, was a huge success and provided the Scottish Government with invaluable first-hand insights into how Scotland is perceived by global partners in education, research and knowledge exchange. It helped finalise our thinking on the extensive work undertaken in partnership with Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland to develop and agree a vision and set of actions for continued promotion of our universities and colleges globally which aligns with Scotland’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Goals[1] and our National Performance Framework on Education and International Partnerships[2].

International students, staff, and researchers have an overwhelmingly positive impact in Scotland bringing social and cultural diversity to our communities; enriching the overall learning experience; supporting local economies, businesses, and jobs; and making a substantial contribution to the sustainability of our universities.

A multinational learning environment is beneficial for all students, staff and researchers who participate in it, raising cultural awareness and a global perspective. Students who choose to stay in Scotland to work are appreciated and valued across all sectors of our economy; those who return home or move elsewhere in the world remain valuable friends and ambassadors for Scotland.

Building on the success already achieved, this Strategy sets out our collective aim to create the conditions for our universities and colleges to continue to flourish, ensuring international competitiveness and the resilience to deliver a sector that continues to underpin Scotland’s economic prosperity, cultural diversity, and open and welcoming reputation.

In the coming months and years, we will continue to work with our universities and colleges to help them diversify their international student, research, and staff population by enhancing our reputation as a world-leading, safe, and inclusive country with open-minded social policies. We will help maximise the social and economic benefits of international higher education, and we will continue to promote Scotland’s world leading research and knowledge exchange sector on the global stage.

We will achieve this by fostering closer collaboration across our further and higher education sectors; by undertaking Ministerial engagements in countries where we know we want to develop educational partnerships; and by fully utilising our soft powers in promoting our distinctly Scottish educational offering internationally.



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