Scots can face the challenge
At the recent Tapestry conference in Glasgow, speakers from the United States, Israel and Russia, as well as Scotland and England, addressed these challenges.
They did so alongside the RSNO, a 1,000-strong group of young people, various choirs, pipers and a jazz band. So the serious business of education was complemented by the creativity and enjoyment of musical excellence.
Professor Nigel Osborne was at the heart of the event, leading the young people in their Kod ly techniques, composing an original orchestral piece for the evening concert and reminding us that creativity and learning are fundamentally linked.
So, among all the international figures, it was a Scottish educator who was the linchpin.
The message I took from the conference was that we should be proud of our schools, our young people and our teachers. We should take ideas from elsewhere in the world if they can contribute to our aims, and we should work together to prepare our young people to be all they can be.
There is no doubt that, like most other nations, we have challenges in education as society changes rapidly. But we will meet these challenges by working together in ways which the Tapestry conference demonstrated that we can.
Chairman, Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Highland Council