CLDMS concerned at course closure

The Chair of CLDMS has written to the Dean and Faculty Manager of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Principal of the University of Strathclyde in the following terms:

I am writing to express our concern about the reported proposal to close the Community Education degree course offered by Strathclyde University.  Community Learning and Development Managers Scotland is the organisation representing Community Learning and Development function within services in all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.   It maintains close working relationships with the Scottish Government, other agencies in the public, educational and voluntary sectors.  The Strathclyde course is particularly highly regarded for engaging with the field and producing graduates with a good theoretical and practical understanding of the issues for practice in Scotland and beyond, across this whole range of services.

Though all services in the public and voluntary sectors are under pressure at the moment, the case for investment in Community Learning and Development, as a way of enabling individuals and communities to build upon their assets and deal more effectively with their own issues and problems and thus relive future pressure on public expenditure, is increasingly recognised at a senior level across Scottish government. The new Scottish administration has been elected on a manifesto that promises a new impetus for community empowerment, which requires support to build people’s capacity to be more fully involved. We would therefore anticipate a continuing demand for skilled ‘Community Education’ workers, not only in Community Learning and Development services themselves but also, as at present, in a wide variety of roles in local government, the NHS and the voluntary sector.

We note that Strathclyde University proposes to continue with its work in training teachers for Scotland’s schools. We consider it particularly disappointing that you should propose to break the connection between that essential work and the training of Community Education workers at a time when, as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education has recently reported, closer links are being forged between the practice of teachers in schools and Community Learning and Development workers as a result of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.

We would therefore argue that your present proposal may be based upon a misunderstanding of the wide ranging contribution that your teaching and research in Community Education makes to Scottish society, and the resulting credit that it brings to your University, and would urge you to reconsider the decision.

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