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Information Scotland

The Journal of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

ISSN 1743-5471

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August 2005 Volume 3 (4)

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland

Aiming Higher

The Generation Game

Jill Evans looks at lifelong learning opportunities offered by some SCURL member institutions.

The Lifelong Learning Strategy For Scotland, published in February 2003, by the Scottish Executive, as Life Through Learning, Learning Through Life[1] embraced people-centred goals. One was a vision of “A Scotland where people have the chance to learn, irrespective of their background or personal circumstances.” In the learning market in Scotland, in 2003-2004:[2]

46 colleges had 412,000 enrolments
20 Higher Education Institutions and
38 Further Education institutions had a total of 272,000 students

33% of taught learning is conducted in publicly funded organisations such as schools, libraries, colleges, universities and museums; 25% is held in the workplace or training centre; and the remaining 42% is received in community centres, and Learning Resource Centres.[3]

Scotland’s population has an opportunity to select their choice of learning environment. The composition of SCURL now reflects four of these five publicly funded institutions. SCURL has recently welcomed the National Museums of Scotland and the Scottish Agricultural College as members.

The National Museums of Scotland offers learning online via three links inviting the user to learn through the internet. Teachers’ notes are also provided online.
A lifelong learning page invites all ages to participate – from pre-school, through the school curriculum of primary and secondary, to adult learning with guided tours of exhibitions, lectures, study courses, workshops and seminars.

The Scottish Agricultural College has three campuses – Craibstone Estate Aberdeen, Auchincruive Ayr and King’s Buildings Edinburgh. Many flexible learning courses are offered not all requiring campus-based attendance. Some of the courses are available online and have the support of tutorials and weekend workshops thus allowing the learner to study at their convenience. The Scottish Executive’s strategy paper advocated that “...adequate support mechanisms must be in place and available” to assist the learner. The SAC provides this with an excellent staff-to-student ratio. Other SAC courses are campus-based, either full-time or part-time. Subjects specialise in the rural sector and its economy.

Two LearnDirect Scotland branded Learning Centres are sited at SAC, offering 24-hour access to their registered students. The flexible learning package, Organic Farming, has won an award. The courses provide learning for owners, managers and employees of small businesses in an environment of rural and farming enterprise.

The Scottish Executive highlighted the need to assist with the transition from school to further education (FE) or colleges, from FE to a Higher Education Institute (HEI) and from College or HEI to the workplace. The SAC degree courses are conferred by Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow enabling assisted further progression.

Bell College Library, Hamilton, also acknowledges the transition from FE to HE, with a focus on part-time and mature students. Although both categories of students make substantial use of the library, they are also perhaps less confident of their abilities than the younger students. In response to this the library staff ensure that they provide a friendly and approachable atmosphere for the students.

Bell College has numerous Articulation links with local FE Colleges, which aim to promote streamlined progression from FE to HE level. In addition, the College is a partner in a collaborative project, which aims to bring awareness of LLL opportunities to school pupils who are living in areas of deprivation and with low rates of progression to higher education. The GOALS (Greater Opportunity of Access and Learning with Schools) initiative involves all the HEIs in the West of Scotland.

The Wider Access programme has a portfolio of courses for over 21s. “U Can Do It’” is a free course for individuals who are considering entering higher education. This year 17 students completed the course and all who subsequently applied have been offered unconditional places to continue their studies at Bell College.

Another course was organised in partnership with SALP (Scottish Adult Learning Programme) which is a “...voluntary organisation established to support and encourage people who do not traditionally participate within the education system.” The one-day course, “Computing For Absolute Beginners” had a student age range from 30 to 80.

The National Library of Scotland is also committed, as part of its Learning Policy, to implement the Inspired Learning For All framework which means embedding learning objectives into all its projects. This includes, for example, the John Murray Archive, where the interpretation plan for the archive is structured around a generic learning model.

The NLS offers a series of trans-generational activities with workshops for schoolchildren with teachers’ packs to accompany the theme of the exhibitions. The current learning generation has the opportunity to learn from the NLS’s printed collections and electronic resources, and the generation involved with both the First and Second World Wars may share reminiscences and contribute to the vibrancy of the current exhibition “Scotland’s Secret War”.

Scotland’s changing population structure will result in fewer young people entering the workforce with the consequent growing post-retirement population continuing to secure employment.[1] Adequate training and learning opportunities must be provided for an appropriate labour market that will contribute to the Scottish Executive’s vision of “A Smart, Successful Scotland”.

Jill Evans is Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL) Service Development Manager.

References
1 Scottish Executive 2003. The Lifelong Learning Strategy for Scotland. Life Through Learning: Learning Through Life.
2 Scottish Executive. Lifelong Learning Statistics, 2003-2004.
3 Department for Education and Skills. 2002. National Adult Learning Survey 2001


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Information Scotland Vol. 3 (4) August 2005

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Last updated:11 October 2005