THE Scottish Qualifications Authority has contracts under way or being sought in 40 overseas countries. Ron Tuck, its chief executive, told The TES Scotland: "Our international work doesn't bring in a great surplus but, so long as it washes its face, we are perfectly happy. It's good for staff and good for Scottish education."
Among the initiatives is to help develop an examination system for Lithuania, in association with Slovakia. This involves piloting exams in maths, Lithuanian language, history and biology.
The SQA is also working with the South African Qualifications Authority to develop a national qualifications framework based, coincidentally, on exams they call Standard grades and Highers.
Other projects include upgrading training and vocational education systems in Bulgaria, Mauritius and one of the Russian regions. The strategy is to develop regional expertise by focusing on the former Soviet Union countries and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.
This has not been without incident, however. David Griffiths, an SQA exam officer, was held up at gunpoint outside his hotel in Jamaica. Fortunately, he escaped with his qualifications intact.