30 years ago

13th January 2006 at 00:00
Scotland has an "unenviable education record," said Professor T C Smout, of Edinburgh University (TESS January 16, 1976).

In the first of a series of lectures by the university on "Scotland and the Future", Professor Smout accused schools of producing "falanges of silent children who arrive at university with pens poised to catch the truth as it drips from their teacher's lips." Scotland's miserable education system had not given her the qualities necessary for development, either along the lines of Scandinavian society or of a no-growth economy. Scotland was not like the Scandinavian countries, which had a high degree of social consensus, a sense of adventure and a history of rapid growth.

The Scottish traits were suspicion, conservativeness and inflexibility. The education system had benefited Scandinavia, while it was the culprit in Scotland. Education in Scotland had consisted of smashing facts into children and teaching them to compete with each other. This had resulted in the need for achievement and social ambition which would not produce a contented no-growth society.

"We will fight to the end for the principle that a 2(1) honours degree entitles us to the last of the world's resources," he added.

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