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Arts Council wants to see a thrill a year

Every child in Scotland would have at least one engagement with the professional arts each year, if the latest strategy comes to fruition.

The proposal is among a series published on Monday in a five-year plan for lifelong learning by the Scottish Arts Council. It is a product of an education forum whose members ranged from artists and writers to professors and a director of education.

But, while the official language centres on the importance of creativity to build the arts and education, the council makes it clear that "the implementation of certain proposals will be dependent on additional investment, and therefore time-scales may vary".

The plan to boost pupil involvement in the arts, for example, is envisaged to kick off in 2005-06 but this depends on the Scottish Executive agreeing to fund the existing cultural co-ordinators programme beyond 2006.

At the strategy's launch at the MacRobert Centre in Stirling, Sylvia Dow, the arts council's head of education, commented: "Scotland needs a population who are active and reflective participants in society, and in their own learning."

Ms Dow said that the strategy "chimes perfectly" with the St Andrew's Day speech last year by Jack McConnell, in which the First Minister spoke about the "centrality of cultural activities to give the next generation a sense of self-fulfilment and success".

The launch featured a performance by a group from Provanhall primary in Glasgow's Easterhouse based on the history of the Monklands canal, involving art, music, drama and poetry.

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