Science strategy on wrong tack

Elizabeth Buie

As the Government launched its Science for Scotland strategy this week, it was warned by a leading guru on creativity that it was going down the wrong road.

The strategy, launched yesterday, aims in part to boost the uptake of science subjects in schools.

But the proposals to focus on science in this way came under fire from Sir Ken Robinson, a renowned adviser to governments and corporations on education and creativity.

At a conference in Glasgow two days previously, he predicted that, in difficult economic times, schools would be encouraged, or required, to focus on the basics of English, maths and science. The usual reaction was for governments to demand that schools drop the extra-curricular and arts programmes, performances and ancillary staff "that make the school work".

In an interview with The TESS at A Curriculum for Excellence masterclass on creativity, run by The Tapestry Partnership, Sir Ken commented: "I don't think this is the time to do that. The time to be more creative is now, when times are hard. Individuality and entrepreneurship are fundamentally important, particularly in a post-industrial setting like Scotland."

Fiona Hyslop, the Education Secretary, took the opposite view when she launched the science strategy: "Scotland is a source of and a magnet for talent and for science investment, and we want it to be a powerhouse of technology, innovation and enterprise, delivering benefits to health, the environment and society and increasing sustainable economic growth."

Ms Hyslop also released new details of the constituent parts of the new science and language baccalaureates this week. She added that the Government and Scottish Qualifications Authority were considering introducing baccalaureates in social subjects (encompassing geography and history) and art.

Full coverage of Sir Ken Robinson's Tapestry Partnership masterclass on creativity will appear next week.

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Elizabeth Buie

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