International Education

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:32 am on 24th April 2008.

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Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party 11:32 am, 24th April 2008

We sat here for eight years waiting for concrete proposals. There have been far more in the past year than anyone expected.

This morning we have discussed how essential it is in today's world that our young people develop an international outlook. We have heard about how the Government is taking forward international education through the curriculum for excellence, by simplifying the landscape and promoting partnership working. We have also heard about excellent examples—too many to mention—of international education throughout the country. Frank McAveety, in his usual style, beat us all by ensuring that there were some school pupils in the gallery during his speech.

In addition to ensuring that our young people have an international education and outlook, the Government is determined to be outward looking in everything that it does. We regularly look at the rest of the world to see what is excellent out there—ideas that could be good for us too, and for the aspirations that we have for modern Scotland. Elizabeth Smith has obviously been doing a bit of that as well, when she considered the Scandinavian models of education. In doing that, we are determined to take the opportunity to promote what we are good at to others. We want to promote our vision of a smarter Scotland—as a place to learn as well as to live, visit, work, do business and invest. Telling Scotland's story and letting people know what we are good at is central to delivering the Government's economic strategy. That is why the international framework that the Scottish Government published on Tuesday identifies how our activities contribute to meeting targets on population growth and closing the gross domestic product gap by attracting inward investment and promoting international business.

Working in partnership is crucial. Building links and exchanges is a key part of delivering our policies. For example, the Scottish Qualifications Authority promotes Scottish qualifications and products and supports Scottish universities and colleges to attract overseas students to our excellent institutions. Learning and Teaching Scotland's approach to Confucius classrooms was promoted to Hanban, which described the initiative as world leading and a model for others to follow. The Chinese authorities will be visiting Scotland next month to learn more about those developments. I am sure that the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning will be delighted to hear that Mr Jeremy Purvis and Mr Murdo Fraser are looking forward to hearing all about her recent trip to China.