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Active involvement;Letter

I WELCOME Julie Morrice's article (TESS, May 21) on Linda McTavish, the chair of Community Learning Scotland. It gave a good account of key developments for the ensuing months and years.

Community education has been the poor relation in the education family. However, it now has the greatest opportunity since its birth nearly 25 years ago for equality with the further and higher education sectors.

To work it will require vision and drive, but I believe the first principle for success must be a commitment to a "two-way process" between heads of service and staff. The reports on community education and lifelong learning both call for staff and community involvement for community planning. I would advocate initially staff involvement at strategic and reviewing stages for each council, and effective staff development and training directly linked to development and business planning.

Too often in the past it has been a top-down approach to planning. Where there is commitment to develop the role of the "active citizen" through meaningful democratic participation, there must also be commitment to develop the "active worker" for genuine democratic decision making within community education.

David Paterson

Chair, Scottish Association Community Education Staff

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