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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Enhanced Opportunities for People of all Ages

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Commitment to the right to free education.

Independence would allow Scotland to further improve its education system, including a proposal to enshrine the government’s policy on free tuition in Scotland’s permanent constitution, according to a new paper published by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Jenny Gilruth.

‘Education and Lifelong Learning in an Independent Scotland’, the latest paper in the Building a New Scotland series, sets out the Scottish Government’s policy proposals for education following independence.

Independence would allow future Scottish Governments to:

  • propose that the government’s policy on free university tuition becomes part of an independent Scotland’s permanent constitution, subject to the deliberations of a future Constitutional Convention
  • use all the powers of an independent nation to fully tackle child poverty, helping to ensure every child in Scotland has the opportunity to reach their full potential
  • incorporate – in full – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law, further enhancing children’s rights
  • consider enhancements to the length and level of paid maternity leave and extending the current statutory two week leave and pay provision for partners as well as providing additional weeks of shared parental leave taken at the end of the 52 week maternity period
  • rejoin EU exchange programmes that benefit students such as Erasmus+ as part of the EU and foster good global connections by promoting international research exchange

Ms Gilruth said:

“Our education system shows why making decisions in Scotland, for Scotland, is better for people who live here. 

“Since 1999 we have been able to take choices to improve opportunities for our young people – including abolishing tuition fees, expanding free school meals and investing in transformational early learning and childcare.

“But the outcomes for our children and young people continue to be harmed by decisions taken by the UK Government – particularly in terms of social security cuts, which are impacting children and families the most.

“Independence puts the full powers to tackle child poverty in Scotland’s hands, and would allow us to build on our existing policies. 

“Modelling published last month estimates that Scottish Government policies will keep 100,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024-25.

“As we have already set out, we would enshrine economic, social and cultural rights – including the right to education – in the interim constitution, effective from day one of independence.

“The Scottish Government would propose that our policy on free university tuition is enshrined in the permanent constitution of an independent Scotland, subject to the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention.

“Independence would put significant economic and legislative levers in Scotland’s hands and give future Scottish Governments a range of opportunities to do things differently on a range of key issues, like children’s rights, tackling child poverty, reserved childcare support schemes and parental leave.

“This paper sets out just some of the opportunities open to future independent Scottish Governments to build a successful and thriving Scotland.

“It shows the potential that can be unlocked for our children, young people and families – the best start in life in a fair and prosperous independent nation.”

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