The University of Stirling today welcomed Scotland’s new Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, in his first ministerial visit to a university since taking office.
Warmly greeted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac, the Deputy First Minister was accompanied by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, the newly appointed Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.
Professor McCormac guided the Ministers around Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, giving them a glimpse of the pool and gym where four of the University’s swimmers are currently training for the Olympics.
With exam season now at an end, Mr Swinney met with staff and students of the University and discussed the innovative teaching and research that has taken place on campus over the last year and wished the students well for their impending results.
The University’s new student halls were also of great interest to the Ministers. The accommodation was part of a £40 million capital development project and Mr Swinney and Ms Somerville were given a glimpse into student life on campus and the opportunities for economic development in Stirling afforded by the investment.
The trip was a homecoming of sorts for Ms Somerville who previously completed a Diploma in Housing Studies at the University.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Scotland’s new Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, in their first official visit to a university since their appointment. We’re delighted to demonstrate how Stirling’s world-leading research is impacting communities in Scotland and is contributing to economic development in the central belt and beyond.”
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney said: “Giving every child in Scotland an excellent education and improving prospects for all our young people is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s priorities this term.
“I want to continue engaging directly with children and young people and all those working in education, including university staff and students. Universities, and our commitment to access to higher education based on ability to learn and not ability to pay, are key to helping this government in our crucial work to ensure that every child in Scotland can have a great future"
“I was delighted to meet staff and students at the University of Stirling in my first week as Education Secretary and I look forward to working with the higher education sector alongside the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.”
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I was pleased to be able to meet staff and students at the University of Stirling today. The excellent research facilities of universities like Stirling are central to our future economic prosperity, and I’m looking forward to working closely with the higher education sector in my new role to realise that potential.”