Wed 11 Sep, 2019

The Scottish Qualifications Agency has been slammed for support provided to the Saudi Arabian government, including its military, by Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer.

The Green MSP challenged the public body at the Scottish Parliament’s education committee demanding the exam body ends its links with the internationally-condemned regime after it revealed that no assessment has been made of what Saudi defence officials are using their SQA-provided training for.

Ross Greer challenged the exam authority over courses it runs through a private company to provide IT training for the Saudi defence ministry and other government departments. Over 44,000 Saudi government employees have been trained on SQA courses so far

The contract for these services was signed two years after the regime began the ongoing bombing campaign in Yemen, which has included targeted attacks on school buses, hospitals and funerals.

The Saudi blockade has resulted in mass starvation and a cholera outbreak described as being of ‘Biblical proportions’ by the Norwegian Refugee Council

Ross Greer said: ““The SQA is a Scottish public body. It should be supporting our young people to reach their potential, not training a brutal, child-killing regime.

“The exam authority started providing courses in Saudi Arabia after the bombing campaign in Yemen began. They, like everyone else, know exactly what crimes the regime is responsible for, yet they seem utterly uninterested in checking whether it is SQA training those responsible are receiving.

“Last year a Saudi warplane bombed a school bus, killing 42 children. A public body responsible for the educational achievement of Scotland’s young people should have nothing to do with these atrocities, but the SQA has so far refused to conduct any human rights checks.

“Exam bosses tell me they spread Scottish human rights values across the world. Those words ring hollow today, especially when other government agencies have reviewed their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“The SQA must cut its ties with brutal, anti-democratic regimes and focus on making a positive contribution to Scotland & the world, not chasing a profit at any cost.”

 

Video of exchange between Ross Greer and the SQA at committee here

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