Meanwhile, over in Nova Scotia ...

1st December 2000 at 00:00
AS HMI exposed more weaknesses in pupils' learning, the Education Minister was thousands of miles away in Canada expounding the virtues of "a strong, quality-driven education system".

Jack McConnell was leading the UK delegation to the Commonwealth education ministers' conference in Halifax, Nov Scotia. His theme was that education has to be at the heart of the drive for social justice in an age when "knowledge is power."

He added: "Our job is to ensure it is equitably distributed and available, and organised for learning in ways which reflect the diversity of our peoples."

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