Scottish Higher Education Minister visits University of Glasgow
The new minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead MSP was welcomed to the University of Glasgow by the Principal on Wednesday 12 September.
In what was his first visit to any Scottish University since his appointment to the Scottish Government, Mr Lochhead was briefed by the Principal on some of the University’s core strengths and priorities, including our research beacons and the £1bn development of the Gilmorehill campus.
The Minister then spent time talking with and taking questions from students who had come to Glasgow through one of our many widening participation initiatives. He also met with Dr Neil Croll, Head of Widening Participation.
Mr Lochhead said: “It is clear to see the University of Glasgow’s commitment to widening access and of all the ancient universities it continues to have the highest percentage of entrants from the most deprived communities. Speaking to the students today it was clear that programmes such as the university’s summer school have made a real difference and helped them to achieve their educational aspirations.
“Since 2007 the Scottish Government has provided free tuition to over half a million students in full-time higher education and we are clear in our ambition that every child, irrespective of socioeconomic background, should have an equal chance of accessing higher education. We have a well-established road map with key milestones and I expect every university to take action now to ensure that, by 2021, 10% of entrants to each university are from Scotland’s 20% most deprived backgrounds
“While great progress has already been made we want to do more. This financial year we are investing £5.2 million to increase bursaries for full-time care-experienced students alongside £16 million in 2019/20 to expand and increase bursaries for students from the lowest income families to ensure they do not miss out on the opportunity of a world-class higher education.”
The Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said: “We are deeply committed to widening access and to offering a world-class education to anyone who has talent and ambition, regardless of economic circumstance or social background – this doesn’t just benefit those students, but makes our University more diverse and reflective of the society we serve.
“We have implemented a number of measures to widen access to applicants from a non-traditional background, including a suite of pre-entry widening participation programmes for school-leavers and adult returners to education – like our Summer School, Top-Up, Reach and Access to a Career programmes. We also work annually with more than 20,000 pupils in more than 100 targeted secondary schools in the west of Scotland.
“These programmes are delivering real results and while we are very proud of the demonstrable progress we’ve made so far, we are wholly committed to working in partnership with the Scottish Government to do even more in this vitally important area.”
First published: 12 September 2018