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Extra pound;1.5m funding for awards strategy

The Scottish Executive is to provide anotherpound;1.5 million for the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, one of the keys to its lifelong learning strategy.

Iain Gray, the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, made the announcement at the annual SCQF conference in Glasgow on Monday.

The new investment in the framework, which covers 12 levels of qualifications from pre-Standard grade Access courses to postgraduate awards is intended to expand its work. Learners are able to earn credits which can be built up and contribute to a lifelong learning portfolio, based on one credit point for each 10 hours of learning.

Mr Gray said the intention of the extra cash is to ensure the framework is implemented, in particular extending it beyond mainstream qualifications to include awards from professional bodies, community learning and further vocational qualifications.

The report from the parliamentary inquiry into lifelong learning makes the SCQF a central feature of its proposals since its key recommendation of an "entitlement" to learning is based on acquiring 720 SCQF credits, the equivalent of the final two years at school and a four-year degree course.

In his cautious response to the report last month, Mr Gray said the framework was still in its infancy. "There is a body of work to do to complete, implement and propagate the framework," he said. "It would be premature to attempt to load anything more on to the framework before it was properly bedded in."

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