A five-year campaign to improve the supply of technology teachers and the subject's status in the curriculum has been given the brush-off by ministers and MSPs.
The Scottish Executive told the Technology Teachers Association that in February local authorities had 25.4 vacancies for technology teachers. Of these, 15 had been vacant for more than three months. Across the country, 641 teachers say technological education is their main subject The association raised its concerns through the Scottish Parliament's education committee but has been told that improvements to teachers' pay and conditions, combined with a forthcoming curriculum review, should improve the lot of technology.
The Executive points out that it has made the subject a priority and that universities have increased their intakes.
Technology teachers are not convinced by the assurances. In their original submission to MSPs in June 2000, they complained that technical education was often subsumed in science or information technology.
They criticised a general lack of appreciation of what the subject could offer, "compounded by poor investment in the technology classroom, workshop and studio environment, and the equipment and resources available to support creative pedagogy".
The association said that a number of west of Scotland authorities had advised timetablers to remove technological studies from Higher options.
Only through physics and technological studies could students study electronics but numbers of presentations had dropped at Higher.
"For a country which frequently advertises its wish to place great store in high-tech industries, this is a disastrous situation and must be urgently addressed," the association declared in launching its campaign.