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Osler backs radical shake-up

THE MOST thorough review of community education for 25 years calls for "a major transformation of attitudes and practice" to bring services into the Government's mainstream agendas of social inclusion, lifelong learning and active citizenship.

"Radical changes in the general perception, definition, location and practice of community education are required by these policies," the Scottish Office report says. Communities: Change through Learning dovetails with the local authorities' own inquiry published last May.

Douglas Osler, the Government's chief adviser, said: "This is a philosophical rationale for the future of community education rather than a blueprint for detailed implementation. That is a matter for local authorities. The basic message is that this is about learning and providing learning opportunities for individuals."

Mr Osler's inquiry emphasised that community education should be seen as a "pervasive approach to education" and not just as a council department encompassing the three traditional strands of adult education, youth work and community work. "The focus is on motivation and confidence, personal and group effectiveness, widening access to formal learning institutions and involvement in civic life," the report states.

The inquiry says it will be up to the Scottish parliament to investigate changes to legislation. It also looked at dropping the term community education but decided not to do so.

Community learning plans should involve voluntary organisations and council departments in setting out targets and developing monitoring procedures.

The national support agency, the Scottish Community Education Council, will have to find "new ways of working".

Leader, page 14

"Communities: Change through Learning" costs Pounds 5 and is available from the Stationery Office Bookshop, 71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9AZ (0131 228 4181).

TARGETSTHE FACTS THAT MATTER

The report calls for targets in community education to be set against baseline data. Targets could include:

* Numbers asking for information or guidance.

* Changes in levels of activity.

* Numbers moving from pre-access to access courses.

* Levels of adult education activity.

* Numbers of young people in contact with detached workers.

* Numbers involved in decision-making.

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