A LONG-TERM investigation into how and when people learn needs Pounds 2.5 million.
The appeal was launched this week by the Scottish Council for Research in Education, an independent, non-profit-making body, celebrating its 70th birthday.
The Learning Throughout Life project will follow learners through school and beyond. After the first three years, the project should be able to pinpoint what influences young people to take up further education and training. It will then go on to report on the factors influencing learning in adult life, and its effectiveness.
SCRE's chairman, Alistair MacFarlane, former principal of Heriot-Watt University, and now chairman of the University for Industry's Scottish advisory group, urged business and industry to back the project.
Long-term support was not available from research funding bodies, and a capital sum was needed to sustain a study of the duration and depth required, he said. "This project will inform the framework for education and training for decades. Society as a whole will benefit, but it will bring very direct benefit to business in helping to build, and to sustain, a workforce which is literate and numerate and has a range of transferable skills."
Donald Dewar, secretary of state for Scotland, said the project would underpin initiatives such as the University for Industry and the National Grid for Learning by providing a greater understanding of the process of learning.