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Pressure mounts to update lecturer skills

THE training of further education lecturers is to be reviewed, the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister announced this week.

Speaking at a two-day conference in Glasgow on lecturers' "journey of professionalism", Iain Gray said FE was at the core of lifelong learning and good quality teaching had to be at the core of FE.

Training currently consists of the main Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) and professional development awards which may count towards the main qualification. But the links between the two and the establishment of "equivalence" with the TQFE have caused dissatisfaction in the sector for some time.

The Scottish Further Education Funding Council, which has earmarked pound;2.75 million for staff development in addition to colleges' own allocations, has established training targets for lecturers.

The latest figures, for 2000-01, show that 67 per cent of full-time lecturers have the TQFE, 3 per cent below the target for that year but some way short of the 90 per cent aim for next year. Forty per cent of part-time staff had "some form" of teaching qualification last year, against a target of 35 per cent with an introductory certificate and a target of 80 per cent by 2004.

But these figures are averages for the sector as a whole and Lesley Sutherland, senior policy officer with the FE funding council, said there may be a case for setting training targets for individual colleges.

Mr Gray said it was important that even long-serving lecturers with the main teaching qualification should update their skills, particularly in light of new policies on inclusion and legislation on disability and race.

A consultation paper will be issued early in January.

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