Task force to review qualifications

February 18, 2000

Scotland's Knowledge Economy Task Force, set up by enterprise and lifelong learning minister Henry McLeish, is set to debate whether higher education should include inbuilt professional accreditation.

The debate is being led by Steve Molyneux, who holds the Microsoft chair of advanced learning technologies at Wolverhampton University.

Professor Molyneux is also one of the new 11-member team recently announced by Mr McLeish. Its remit is to review the progress in developing the knowledge economy in Scotland and to develop an action plan for the Scottish Executive.

Other members include industrialists, managers, entrepreneurial experts and key figures in higher and further education.

Mr McLeish said: "The knowledge economy will not be created by government alone. It needs all the key players in academia, business support and the business community to make it a reality. The task

force membership reflects this."

Professor Molyneux said he was interested in the idea of professional accreditation, subject to academic rigour, being incorporated within higher education so that graduates emerged not only with academic qualifications but also with the professional qualifications sought by industry.

Professor Molyneux, a scientific adviser to the European Commission and European Parliament, is also director of Development and Evaluation of Learning Technology Applications at Wolverhampton. This group aims to alert business to the advantages of using innovative information technology to boost teaching and learning.

Scotland was a leader in the United Kingdom in developing aims for the future and realising that these could be achieved only through strategic alliances between different sectors, Professor Molyneux said.

"Scotland seems far more developed in terms of long-term strategy and partnerships, particularly between higher and further education, than England and Wales," he said.

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