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How would Scottish Independence affect students?
By Niamh Burns
With the impending reality of Brexit just around the corner, many students are surmising just what will happen over the next few years. None more so than students in Scotland, after Nicola Sturgeon announced the Scottish National Party (SNP) would seek a second independence referendum.
Perhaps another pipe dream according to those in Westminster it seems, but for Scottish students the SNP’s manifesto on education can be easily found on their website and outlines just exactly the vision they have for Scotland.
The most telling statement reads: ‘We will protect free education. There will be no tuition fees if the SNP is in government. We will set ambitious new targets that will ensure that by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas make up 20 per cent of Higher Education entrants.’
After the promises the Lib Dems made at the 2010 General Election about scrapping tuition fees, the level of distrust for politicians within the student community was arguably at an all-time high, but since the SNP introduced free tuition, they have stuck vehemently to that promise. However, many have argued that free tuition has benefited school leavers in England more and that more and more Scottish students are missing out on places.
There have also been arguments about the financial impact that free tuition has had on the Scottish governments budget. But in a time where politicians have opted to claim expenses for items such as packets of biscuits and have stepped over ethical lines on many occasions, the argument for keeping students in university education for free is strong.
The latest announcement from The SNP this month also outlines that they will propose giving free tuition to EU students, another move that has been welcomed by the European community. Whilst those who say that Sturgeon is being divisive, it seems apparent that she will do all she can to preserve the current status quo for Scottish students.
But that now poses the ultimate question: with a potential complicated process to join the European Union and the threat of economic uncertainty, just would Scotland be better off leaving the United Kingdom and going it alone?
Hi, I’m Niamh. I am a recent English Literature graduate from Ulster University, now studying an NCTJ Professional Journalism course at North West Regional College in Derry, Northern Ireland. I have always wanted to become a journalist and have spent the last few years interning at newspapers and magazines throughout Northern Ireland. I have a massive interest in currents affairs, politics and social justice. I’m really interested in student perspective, politics and activism, mainly in feminism and gender equality. I believe it is really important for young people and students to get involved in current affairs and politics, it is crucial for us to have a good platform in order to express ourselves.