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Glasgow admits it will miss targets

Glasgow has become the first area of Scotland to admit publicly that it will not meet the national education and training targets by the year 2000.The city is to mount a major drive to create a "new learning environment",in order to raise attainment among young people and the workforce. But, recognising the enormity of the challenges, it believes the targets will not be reached until 2004.

A new "learning alliance" of schools, colleges, businesses, development agencies and Glasgow University has been set up to plan a series of initiatives.

Glasgow's chief concern is the huge strides it must make to meet the national target of having 60 per cent of the adult workforce qualified to at least SVQ level III (the vocational equivalent of Highers). The figure for Scotland last year was 49 per cent, while Glasgow struggled at 25 per cent, although a further 12 per cent are studying at that level.

Glasgow's grand learning design will go ahead only if the Scottish Office agrees to contribute #163;85,000 towards total first-year costs of #163;425,000. The city has also requested #163;179,000 for adult guidance activities, which it estimates will cost more than #163;300, 000.

The Scottish Office has set aside #163;6 million over the next three years to stimulate lifelong learning projects and expand adult guidance. It has invited bids from partnerships made up of the main education and economic players in each of the 22 local enterprise company areas.

The Glasgow group will focus on "re-engaging disaffected young people in learning", targeting employees in small businesses, and setting up an employee development project to raise workforce qualifications to SVQ level III.

Glasgow's education department is already discussing changes to the S3S4 curriculum aimed at keeping pupils interested in their last two years of compulsory schooling. The latest push is intended to link such changes to lifelong learning by persuading young people, particularly in disadvantaged areas, to stay on at school.

"The project would offer a more relevant curriculum, with particular emphasis on employability skills," according to a report by city education officials.

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