As the latest statistics by UCAS were released earlier this week, a disagreement has formed between ministers and analysts in the Scottish educational field. One of the main talking points of the current First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, was closing the gap between students coming from poor backgrounds and those with a better standard of life.
Recent data by UCAS shows that while international students are increasing in number, the gap between poorer Scottish students and ones with better financial opportunities is becoming wider.
This has caused a wave of discontent among opposing party members and professional educators in the country. Scottish education is becoming increasingly popular for foreigners; however, the number of local young adults attending higher education has decreased by more than four percent (4%).
Scottish education problems
In her pre-election speeches, Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that higher education will be one of her priorities as First Minister. However, the recent statistics show that her promises were not fulfilled, as the number of Scottish students in universities is dropping.
The main concern of educators and some government representatives is the disparity between students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those coming from more affluent areas in the country.
In response to the wave of criticism, Scottish Minister of Higher Education, Richard Lochhead, has claimed that people are misinterpreting the data released by UCAS.
According to him, the numbers show that the gap between the poorest and the richest in Scottish education has been reduced by more than ten percent (10%) over one year. However, he is referring to the number of students from the most deprived areas, compared to the number of students from the wealthiest cities.
The overall trend in Scottish education is that children coming from a poorer background are more likely not to enter higher education. On the other hand, students with a better standard of life are more likely to attend university.