Tuesday 23 February saw The Open University take its #LovePartTime campaign to Holyrood to meet Members of the Scottish Parliament and raise awareness of the value of part-time higher education ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary election in May. With just under 15,000 students in Scotland, The OU accounts for over 40% of Scotland’s part-time undergraduate provision.
Part-time study widens access to higher education by making it more manageable for people facing additional barriers. In particular, part-time facilitates study for people in work, with families or other caring commitments, with a disability, living in a rural or remote area or on a low income.
Part-time study also has an immediate economic impact. More than 70% of OU students are in full- or part-time work, meaning that new skills and knowledge can be applied in the workplace straightaway. For every £1 invested in The OU, £7.50 is returned to the economy, with The OU in Scotland contributing more than £236 million to the Scottish economy.
Politicians from every party at Holyrood supported the campaign, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour leader), Ruth Davidson (leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Alison Johnstone (Scottish Green Party) and event sponsor Liam McArthur (education spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
We are grateful for the support received from all Members and we hope to see to all parties committing to supporting part-time higher education students in their forthcoming election manifestos.
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