The Scottish Government has provided Pounds 214,000 to safeguard the provision of Auschwitz visits, so that pupils can learn about the Holocaust.
Earlier this year, the UK Government announced funding for the study trips, Lessons from Auschwitz, run by the Holocaust Educational Trust. It did not include funds for Scotland. Opposition parties had complained that Scottish students would not benefit and pupils who had been on the trips petitioned for their continuation.
Thanks to their efforts, for the next two years, beginning in 2009, two senior pupils from every school in Scotland will visit Auschwitz as part of a process of raising awareness of the Holocaust in particular, and genocide and human rights in general.
The Scottish Government's decision to provide funding coincided with the publication of research into the impact of "Lessons from Auschwitz". Researchers Paula Cowan, from the University of the West of Scotland, and Henry Maitles, from Strathclyde University, found:
- There was clear evidence of personal development; pupils were deeply moved by the visit;
- The pupils perceived an increase in their knowledge and understanding of issues such as genocide and human rights;
- Pupils took their responsibilities on return seriously and organised a range of events in their schools and in their wider communities.
Announcing the additional funding, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "Curriculum for Excellence includes many opportunities to discuss and learn about the Holocaust. The added value of study visits to Auschwitz offers an important link to these terrible events and their continuing implications for society."