Scottish education minister Helen Liddell has hailed a pioneering new credit and qualifications framework as widening educational opportunities for all and offering access to better jobs.
Speaking at the Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer (Scotcat) conference in Glasgow, Mrs Liddell said the framework was one of the key points in the government's plans to develop lifelong learning north of the border.
Scotland is a leader in the United Kingdom with the Scotcat credit-transfer scheme, supported by every higher education institution. The scheme builds on Scotcat to produce a framework covering all Scottish qualifications, whether school, college, university, work-based or professional.
The Scottish Office Education and Industry Department hopes the framework will be in place by August and is drawing up a draft for consultation with the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, the Quality Assurance Agency, the Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access, and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. The SQA is responsible for offering all qualifications except university degrees in Scotland.
Noscopat_xy Hands on: education secretary David Blunkett opened a unique interactive science learning zone at Sheffield Hallam University this week.
The Scope (Sciences Centred Opportunities for Pupil Experiences) centre cost Pounds 1 million and is the only university-based facility of its kind in the UK. It offers experiments school children can use to explain the basic scientific principles of light, sound, heat, static electricity and liquids. As part of a post-festive policy drive, Mr Blunkett and prime minister Tony Blair today announced the second round of education action zones. Mr Blunkett called for more radical EAZ initiatives designed to raise school standards and boost numbers progressing to further education.
Up to Pounds 1 million a year for the next three years is available to new EAZ partnerships. The first 25 are already operational and new ones will start between January and September next year. Deadline for applications is April 16.