Continued membership of networks such as Erasmus, and agreements such as Freedom of Movement and the Single Market access are crucial to the development and well-being of Inverclyde, according to Stuart McMillan MSP.
Speaking in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament yesterday on the importance of the EU to education in Scotland, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP argued that EU-national students in Scotland are vital to the economy:
“Scotland is home to nearly 13,500 EU undergraduate students, nearly 5,400 Post Graduate students as well as 4,600 EU staff working in our Higher Education institutions. In anybody’s language, that is a valuable economic, social and educational learning contribution to Scotland.
“The Scottish Government have consistently argued that improved post study work routes would be beneficial to Scotland’s economic growth.
“The reintroduction of a post study work visa which would allow international students to remain in Scotland and contribute to the economy for a defined period on completion of their studies is crucial for Scotland’s future prosperity.”
Mr McMillan also highlighted his own positive experience as an EU-funded Erasmus student – and warned that future Scottish Erasmus students would be hindered as a result of Brexit:
“I grew up in Port Glasgow. I have a great family and my parents were always encouraging me to have a better life and opportunities that they had.
“I think back to my time studying in France, Germany and Sweden with great fondness and how my life was enriched by having those opportunities.
“However, without EU funding, I couldn’t have afforded going.
“However, now that the Brexit vote has taken place and we heard at the weekend that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March next year, what will the impact be upon those Scottish school students who are thinking about studying at an EU institution but now can’t be guaranteed the funding to assist?
“This is a problem created by the London Government which affects the whole U.K. and it’s an issue that needs to be rectified by them also.”