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Editor's comment

Off with old and on with the new.

Off with old and on with the new.

There's a real sense of "off with the old and on with the new", as the Scottish Qualifications Authority publishes in the same week this year's national exam results and its proposals for the new qualifications for Curriculum for Excellence.

Out goes Russian; in comes Chinese. Out goes geology; in comes a "suite" of engineering courses. And the new stress on numeracy will lead to a qualification in practical mathematics for those going on to further education or work.

If the creativity and flexibility being pushed in the new curriculum have been mocked as "airy-fairy", amorphous, even reminiscent of the Emperor's Clothes, there is a sense of practical direction here. At a time of deep recession, a recognition of the requirements of international trade and manufacturing will not go amiss: the economic futures of our children will be determined by the right decisions for the global market.

No one can say the SQA has not been listening. If the CfE can really pull together those practical needs with creative methods, Scotland should have a curriculum it can be proud of. Nothing, of course, is carved in stone, as teachers are being asked to respond, but at least they may feel there is something more concrete to respond to.

And speaking of teachers, congratulations to all those who have nurtured and cajoled thousands of pupils through their exams. As headlines in the press have ranted on about teachers' incompetence, poor literacy and numeracy, even threats to jobs and pensions, they have kept their heads down and focused on their pupils' needs. The results are being celebrated, as we write, in homes across the country. But let's not forget the many youngsters whose hopes have been dashed by the squeeze on university places.

Neil Munro editor of the year (business and professional magazine).

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