BBC has sold education short

27th November 1998 at 00:00
TEACHERS ARE still likely to come home to a six o'clock BBC television news bulletin featuring OFSTED and the literacy hour. Even with a Scottish parliament only months away the BBC governors cannot see that news about key areas of devolved government such as education should be reported in the main bulletin for Scotland and not as an addendum once the preoccupations of the Department for Education and Employment have been rolled out.

The BBC apparently plans a main bulletin reflecting the domestic concerns of all four parts of the UK. No one seriously expects anything other than English predominance, which, given the relative sizes of the country, is only reasonable from a London perspective.

Despite the best efforts of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland, the governors appear unable to contemplate loss of central control. They fear a provincialisation of news standards should Scotland go its own way. They forget that the quality press in Scotland has almost 200 years' experience of balancing the priorities of Scottish, British and international news. Readers overwhelmingly plump for the home-grown product.

One of the strongest arguments for devolution was the absurdity of Scottish education being dictated to by southern concerns and non-Scottish parliamentary votes. How far the four UK education systems now diverge is one of the most interesting questions awaiting answer. But the BBC has already decided we should remain immersed in the doings of Chris Woodhead and other luminaries without a locus.

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