Scottish pupils are achieving better qualifications, with almost half of the 1993 school-leavers staying in full time education, according to Raymond Robertson, Scottish Office minister for education.
Mr Robertson said he was encouraged by the latest findings of the Scottish School Leavers Survey Report which showed 48 per cent of the leavers were in full-time education last October, with 23 per cent having started a degree course.
"The level of qualifications are steadily improving, giving pupils more option to plan their future," Mr Robertson said.
A quarter of leavers had a full-time job, and 90 per cent of these were receiving either on- or off-the-job training, while 17 per cent of leavers were on training schemes.
"Education and training are areas where we cannot afford to stand still," Mr Robertson said. "1995 sees the extension, to almost all parts of Scotland, of the Skillseekers programme, which offers work-based training to those entering the labour market."
The Higher Still proposals, which suggests merging post-16-year-olds' academic and vocational qualifications, would also help to maximise pupils' potential, he said.