New vision for SCEC;Letter

22nd January 1999 at 00:00
IT IS indeed excellent news that the Government is to launch Community Learning Scotland as the national community education agency in April. It will play a key role in realising the Government's vision for and commitment to community learning.

But may I correct some points of misinformation in your report of January 8.

The first is that the replacement of the Scottish Community Education Council by Community Learning Scotland followed critical HMI inspections of SCEC. This is not the case.

SCEC is recognised as having done an outstanding job in recent years, often leading the policy and practice debate on lifelong learning, community governance and youth issues.

The external consultant's report commissioned by the Scottish Office paid tribute to the high motivation and commitment of its staff, the quality of its products - information services, publications etc - and the critical role that it had played at a time of considerable disinvestment in community education following local government reorganisation. The new agency will be building upon the excellent record of SCEC's 16 years as a non-departmental public body. It will indeed refocus to address the new Government's agenda.

But while this is radical and visionary, it would be misleading to conclude that this is a case of sweeping away the old SCEC. Much of that new vision and agenda after all has been crafted in light of lobbying by SCEC and is warmly welcomed by the council.

Long-standing SCEC information products such as Young Scot will not, as you assert, become a casualty.

Rather we are relaunching Young Scot, as we are launching Community Learning Scotland, with great confidence that community education is at last being given the recognition it so patently deserves.

Charlie McConnell, Chief executive, Scottish Community Education Council, Rosebery House, Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh

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