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Masters of the classroom

It is only two decades since teaching became an all-graduate profession in Scotland. Now the prospect is being dangled before teachers' noses that they may be expected to acquire a second degree, a masters or equivalent.

The argument goes that if standards in the classroom are to rise, then teachers must engage more vigorously in more advanced continuing professional development. Matthew MacIver, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, has pointed out that the Finns are already doing it and former Soviet states such as Latvia and Estonia are going down the same route (page three).

With the chartered teacher programme the apparent envy of many countries, it might be argued that Scotland is uniquely placed to make the dream of a higher qualified profession a reality. In practice, however, would this dream be more of a nightmare for many hard-pressed classroom teachers? Any masters-style second degree would have to be accessible and affordable. The financial issues posed by the chartered teacher programme would have to be resolved. And, as Mr MacIver also points out, this form of CPD would have to be meaningful, relevant and valued by teachers.

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