Students in the Highlands and Islands made their voices heard on Brexit directly to the Scottish Government and parliamentary representatives yesterday (Friday February 1st)
More than 80 students and student officers of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) met in the Mercure Hotel for the annual HISA Student Conference.
Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, took questions from delegates before a panel discussion with representatives of the Highlands and Islands in Holyrood and Westminster.
Students made an emotional plea to politicians to address concerns they have over the uncertainty of EU students’ being able to continue to study in the Highlands and Islands. Florence Jansen, HISA Depute President of Lews Castle College stated: “Politicians should communicate openly about the effect Brexit will have on EU students. Brexit is not just a political game. This could lead to myself and my friends having to leave the country we chose to study and make our home. EU students all over the country are facing these difficulties and we deserve to have our voices heard.”
Alan Simpson, President of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, pictured above with Richard Lochhead said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have Mr Lochhead speak to students and take questions today. It’s important that the Scottish Government listens to the real concerns that students have about Brexit. Politicians can’t forget the real human experiences that are affected by their decisions. I hope Mr Lochhead found today as valuable as we did and we look forward to talking to him more in the future.”
Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science said: “I was glad to have the opportunity to hear directly from students about their concerns around Brexit – these are concerns that I, and the Scottish Government, share. We know that Scotland has proportionally more EU students than the rest of the UK and that Brexit is currently the single biggest risk to our colleges and universities.
"The Scottish Government will do all that it can to support EU nationals who are studying here during the uncertainty caused by Brexit, and as we move forward. Scotland is, and always will be, open and welcoming to anyone who wants to study or work here. We will not stand by while the benefits of international collaboration and knowledge exchange are threatened.”
The Highlands and Islands Students' Association (HISA) represents all higher and further education students across the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
and its 13 partner colleges. HISA Student Conference is an annual event, where students are represented by their Class Reps .