EDUCATION emerged as the single biggest issue at public meetings held across Scotland to discuss a national cultural strategy, which were attended by 750 people. It was "overwhelmingly the most important point for many" in the 350 written responses.
Rhona Brankin, Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport, has now decided to set up another round of consultations centring on particular areas, including one on young people and education, before the strategy is finalised in July.
The report says; "The lack of understanding and commitment to every aspect of Scottish culture was commented upon, including language, expressive arts, history, identity and heritage. There were many criticisms of the restrictions of the curriculum and the lack of resources, in particular instrumental music tuition."
The new round of consultations will try to hammer out what part schools should play and what can be done outwith school.
The Executive, meanwhile, wants architecture to be the latest addition to an already crowded timetable. A cosultation document suggests it could be taught as a discrete subject or through a range of subjects, including science, history and mathematics.
But Ian Barr, director of the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, dismissed the notion of a new subject area.
"It's the last thing we need,"
Mr Barr said. "Architecture is something that is integrated into many aspects of our lives and there are immense opportunities for it to be addressed through all kinds of subjects." Teachers were already doing so.
The council is next year to launch "Common Threads", a series of projects showing pupils how the arts, including architecture, impact on their lives.
The latest school to benefit from the Executive's pound;14 million programme to establish national specialist centres for talented children is Plockton High where up to 20 pupils will receive tuition in traditional Scottish music. It joins music schools in Edinburgh, Bearsden and Dyce, and the dance and sports schools in Glasgow.
Leader, page 18