Highlands and Islands Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron has described findings that just under half of school pupils (46%) in the region believe that the range of subjects available will limit their post-school options as deeply worrying.
The findings, revealed in a survey conducted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, also indicate that a growing proportion of young people wish to stay in the region after they leave school.
Donald said: “There is good news and bad news in the survey.
“The good news is that more of our young people would like to continue to live and work here than before. That is very encouraging.
“What is much less encouraging is that so many are concerned that the lack of subject choice at school is cutting down their options.
“Across the region nearly half of our children feel this, but the figure rises to 63% in the more remote areas. That is deeply worrying.
“Delivering a wide curriculum to more rural communities will always be a challenge, and we will need to increasingly employ digital technologies but, as the report says, ‘awareness and uptake is still limited.’
“That suggests we could and should be doing better.
“Unfortunately our ability to address this matter is dependent on funding and, as we know, the SNP Government has cut the funding of our local authorities across the Highlands and Islands which inevitably has a negative effect on their ability to invest in our rural schools.
“Unless this changes, I fear that we will struggle to meet this challenge.”