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Fairer validation for qualifications

It might be helpful to add a few points of clarification to your article on vocational qualifications (TESS, March 29). Our central argument is that the fault which exist in the present arrangements should not be perpetuated and that Scottish Vocational Qualifications should be accredited by an Independent body.

Under the present arrangements, submissions for accreditation are reviewed and presented to the Scottish Vocational Education Council Accreditation Committee by development staff who are also responsible for producing SVQs for Scotvec, the awarding body, Marketing information which must be provided as part of the accreditation submission is thus available to Scotvec the awarding body.

While it is true, as Tom McCool of Scotvec stated, that there is no obstacle to other bodies obtaining accreditation they will nevertheless operate at a commercial disadvantage while Scotvec has access to all of their information but discloses none of its own to competing awarding bodies.

The likely reason why 75 of the 108 bodies awarding SVQs operate in awarding partnership with Scotvec is because they found direct competition with Scotvec to be an unrealistic option.

The present accrediting arrangements do not permit staff of Scotvec to be members of the Accreditation Committee and we can see no reason why the new arrangements defined in the Education (Scotland) Bill should allow the staff of the proposed Scottish Qualifications Authority to be full members of the Accreditation Committee.

If accreditation is to be a totally separate and independent function with SQA then it can operate equally well outside SQA where it can be clearly seen to be independent. This would place it in a position equivalent to that held by NCVQ.

MERVYN LANCASTER Chief executive City and Guilds, Scotland 22 Walker Street Edinburgh

Letters should be addressed to The TES Scotland 37 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HN. Telephone 0131 220 1100; fax 0131 220 1616.

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