We all recognise that education is key to improving the life chances of our young people. At the end of the last parliamentary session, in the Green Paper Building a Smarter Future, The Scottish Government set out a range of options for the future of Scotland’s universities. If there is to be true transformational change across the post-16 education landscape, then we must look at colleges, universities, skills and training as a whole. The operation of these sectors together, for learners, is the key to unlocking the potential of our people for their benefit and for that of our economy.
The Scottish Government has now brought forward detailed proposals for a reform programme for the whole of post-16 education in Scotland in the pre-legislative paper Putting Learners at the Centre: delivering our ambitions for post-16 Education.
The proposals are focused on:
• creating better life chances for all young people;
• better aligning outcomes with the Scottish Government’s Purpose, specifically the Government’s ambitions for jobs and growth; and
• creating a more sustainable approach to funding post-16 education.
These three fundamental drivers give rise to proposals for improved access and progression, the alignment of skills and training with jobs and growth, the support of research and ways to make study more affordable.
The paper sets out proposals for wide-ranging reform of the full range of Government-funded post-16 education in Scotland – higher education, further education and skills. In the light of the consultation on Building a Smarter Scotland, they have already discussed many of the issues facing higher education and outlined their aim to deliver a sustainable future for the sector.
This paper has drawn on the analysis of the responses to that consultation to set out more definite proposals for HE and The Scottish Government are now seeking views on how these may best be implemented.
On further education and skills the paper builds on the recently published ‘Willy Roe’ Review of vocational training and the Skills Strategy. If you are part of this landscape or simply have an interest, I urge you to read through the proposals and put your thoughts to Government.
You can access the consultation here: Putting Learners at the Centre – Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education