I recently had the pleasure of welcoming four inspiring young pupils from St Nicholas RC Primary School in Broxburn to the Scottish Parliament. The small delegation were handing over a ‘Send my Friend to School’ petition to Humza Yousaf, the Minister for External Affairs and International Development. My Labour colleague Neil Findlay MSP was invited to the presentation; however due to a diary commitment was unable to attend and I met with the pupils in my capacity as a Lothian MSP.
The school has embarked on an ‘Our Rights, Respecting Schools’ journey which has involved learning about the lack of educational opportunities faced by children in other parts of the world. The pupils spoke with great enthusiasm for their school project and were clearly passionate about strong action being taken to improve access to education. They told us about some of the case studies that they had learned about; including the lack of teachers in Nigeria, a young teenager in India missing out on school to earn money for her family and some countries being so in debt that they cannot afford to inject money into educating their citizens.
Every child at the school signed the petition calling on the Scottish Government to do all it can to help people who are denied or restricted to an education. The children had done their homework and knew that Section 28 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have a right to free primary education.
I was impressed with the commitment shown by the school embarking on this project and the children demonstrated just how much they are learning about international development. It is clear that the pupils are concerned about global issues and are committed to ending extreme poverty. Thanks go to Mrs Sally Hopkinson, the primary three teacher, for organising the trip and to the pupils for all the hard work they put into the petition