Call for statutory base for community education service

1st August 1997 at 01:00
The community education lobby has written to Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, appealing for legislation to underpin its work.

Mr Wilson is asked to follow the lead of English ministers who have promised a White Paper on lifelong learning in the autumn. This may recommend placing informal education on a stronger statutory footing. An open letter to the minister in the Scottish Community Education Council's summer newsletter argues that local authorities should have additional powers and duties to overcome the "weak and ambiguous statutory base".

The letter, signed by Charlie McConnell, the council's chief executive, and three colleagues from the voluntary and local authority sectors, points out that Labour politicians backed the plans before the election.

Community education is said to have borne "a considerable brunt of required cuts in public expenditure in recent years" and needs protecting. "The Scottish Skills Forum has concluded that community education is pivotal to reaching the 80 per cent of Scots who currently have no involvement in learning after formal education," the letter states.

Mr Wilson is urged to extend the remit of the English-based Fryer committee into lifelong learning north of the border or to establish a separate investigation.

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