Education

Government research indicates that 800,000 adults, or 23% of the Scottish adult population, have very low literacy and numeracy skills.

Further education colleges are the largest providers of post-school education and training in Scotland delivering lifelong learning to nearly half a million students each year. This equates to more than 10% of the working age population of Scotland.

Learning is a process for life, not just for young people. The Scottish Green Party believes that examinations should not be considered the sole criterion of achievement of education. Education should be concerned with social and emotional development as well as academic ability. The education system must meet the needs of learners, teachers and communities as well as employers.

How we teach our young people should reflect our expectations of them as citizens and members of communities as well as employees. We believe that living within the planet’s means, often called ‘sustainable development’, is the top political priority. That means it should also be a top priority for education and training programmes. In the workplace, this would take the form of training in energy efficiency, waste management and the sound use of materials and resources. It would also cover issues such as the relationships between employees and employers. In schools, colleges and universities, there should be specific time set aside for these issues, as well as for wider topics such as our relationship with the developing world.

We believe that by introducing educational programmes dealing with sustainable development issues, understanding of environmental and social justice issues will be increased throughout the community, fostering more responsible attitudes..

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will abolish league tables for all educational institutions, and replace them with an accreditation of excellence reflecting the circumstances of the school, the local community and both academic and nonacademic activities. We will ensure that there is enough money in all schools to work with, support and re-integrate disruptive pupils. We will make sure that there is proper provision for pupils with special needs, whether in mainstream or special education.

  • We will continue to oppose top-up fees for universities. We will abolish all student fees and restore grants through a citizen’s income scheme. We oppose the creeping privatisation of education provision. We also reject the use of inflexible contracts within the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to build schools. Government money provided for school buildings (both new build and maintenance) must actually be spent on school buildings rather than generating excessive profits for private companies.

  • We will extend the philosophy of community schools and make the resources of all schools, colleges and universities more widely available to the communities in which they are situated. Community participation in schools will be encouraged, including a greater role for learners, education workers and parents/guardians as well as for the wider community and local authority. We will also provide support for high-quality pre-school education and for home learning where appropriate.

  • We want to see greater flexibility within all levels of education, allowing institutions to share areas of specialist knowledge and enjoy the benefits of shared resources. Further education colleges and universities serve different roles and needs, but support should be given to both in the context of an overall tertiary education policy. We will provide support for lifelong learning agreements negotiated between learners, centres of learning and employers, and support for communications training in colleges and universities. We will also ensure the introduction of citizenship education and education on sustainable development in all Scottish schools.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896
e-mail: info@scottishgreens.org.uk