Don't forget fun;Leading Article;Opinion

21st May 1999 at 01:00
SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE'S timing could not have been better. Just as Henry McLeish was being appointed the first ever Minister for Lifelong Learning, the agency was putting the finishing touches to the elusive jigsaw that is lifelong learning. Mr McLeish therefore has a policy and he has been shown how to implement it.

The difficulty is that, if the latest moves are to fare any better than their innumerable predecessors, a disparate set of players will have to start singing from the same hymn sheet. Schools, colleges and universities have to be convinced as well as individuals and employers. Minds and mindsets will need to change. The planned pound;160 million investment is welcome but as Scottish Enterprise points out, that represents only 4 per cent of education and training expenditure.

There is nothing wrong with ambition, however. Examples abound, from cyber grannies to employer investment, to show the message is getting through that learning is not just beneficial but fun. Perhaps it is the latter commodity which is sometimes missing from rather po-faced policies. Scottish Enterprise needs to tug at the heart-strings as well as the purse-strings.

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