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'Meet the technological challenge or get left behind'

MR BEATTIE gave a stark warning that unless education and training was deployed to improve the country's skills, Scotland would get left behind in the technological race and the gaps between the haves and the have-nots would grow. He cited the startling estimate published in the Journal of Lifelong Learning in 1998 that 80 per cent of the technology in use by 2005 would be less than 10 years old.

If that were equated o 80 per cent of the European workforce, it means that 190 million people who will mostly have been educated more than 10 years previously would need training in the new technologies.

"It will therefore be the right of every citizen to participate in lifelong learning and, more importantly, it will be the responsibility of all us to know the opportunities are there and how to access them," Mr Beattie said.

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