Scotland urged to help refugee kids from Syria

SCOTLAND should be helping ensure refugee children from Syria continue to receive an education, a Glasgow MSP said.

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Patricia Ferguson, Maryhill and Springburn Labour MSP, has called on the Scottish Government to offer practical help for those fleeing the war.

Ms Ferguson told MSPs during a debate on the crisis she had met refugees through a project in Maryhill. Around half of the 2.3m refugees from the conflict are children.

The UK Government has pledged to contribute £600m for aid and the Scottish Government £200,000 and is taking a number of the refugees brought to Britain.

Ms Ferguson backed former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who called for action to ensure there is not a generation growing up with no access to education.

She said: "The Syrian refugees whom I have met, who are involved in the excellent Maryhill Integration Network, are absolutely clear that they do not want to be refugees - they want to be at home - but while they are here, they will play their part in the lives of our communities.

"I must mention the role that Gordon Brown is playing in drawing attention to the very real prospect that an entire generation of young Syrians might be deprived of an education.

"That view should be supported. Given Scotland's proud record over the centuries in education, perhaps it is an area in which we could provide particular help and expertise."

Other Glasgow MSPs told of visits to the country and refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Bob Doris Glasgow SNP MSP, said he had visited a refugee camp in Kurdistan and welcomed moves to offer safety and shelter in Scotland.

He said: "It is right that the UK takes refugees. I was going to say that we should take a fair share, but we should just take as many as we can in an organised fashion.

"I hope that before they arrive we will have identified their accommodation, their children's primary schools and the wraparound care that they need to get on with their lives."

Humza Yousaf, minister for International development, said he would be following up on Ms Ferguson's suggestion.

He said: "The exodus of ­refugees out of Syria is ­equivalent to almost half of the Scottish population. The figures are mind boggling.

"One of the themes that was described particularly well by Patricia Ferguson was the idea of what positive contribution Scotland could make.

"Education was mentioned, and I am more than happy to explore that idea."

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