A new pan-Scottish programme has been set up to encourage Scottish teachers to take part in international exchanges.
The Scottish Continuing Inter-national Professional Develop-ment programme (SCIPD) will receive pound;200,000 of Scottish Executive funding in its first year, Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, announced this week from South Africa, where he is attending the 16th Common-wealth Conference of Education Ministers.
The SCIPD will provide around 150 study visits each year for Scottish teachers and local authority staff.
Mr Henry said: "Scottish education has a lot to gain by opening our minds to international perspectives, and we have a lot to contribute. Scottish pupils also have much to gain through an international education enabling them to have a knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland's place in it.
"By streamlining arrangements and reducing bureaucracy, we hope to raise the number and improve the value of these study visits."
SCIPD will be launched in April and will pool funding currently administered by three organisations - the League for Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers (LECT), Developing Effective International Exchange Programme (DEIEP) and British Council Scotland. It will be run by Learning and Teaching Scotland.
Edna Paterson, Glasgow City Council's international education officer, who runs DEIEP, said: "The creation of a national one-stop shop for international education is very positive."
DEIEP has been funded by 15 local authorities, the Scottish Executive, LECT and British Council Scotland. It will now be replaced by the new pan-Scottish organisation.
DEIEP had found through experience that international continuing professional development and teacher exchanges had an impact on learning and teaching.
Last year, the Executive said its funding to DEIEP would be withdrawn over three years, because the programme was not available to the whole of Scotland.