Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections on a Busy Year - Part One

Tidying out my  inbox and calendar, and while I get the chance, reflecting on a year measured out by appointments almost on each hour.  I think what still frustrates me is that I can’t put down all the things we get up to here, mainly because of the sensitivities around competition which is still an alien concept to many in Scottish education – not in the competition of ideas which should drive learning and is familiar ground, but that in education the profit motive can get in the way of excellence.

The thought that there are global corporates who will read this and frustrate us where they can, horrifies me but it is the reality of education and learning as a global service.  We need to be open to the best ideas and the most cost effective ways of delivering services to learners, competition is a good thing,  but we need to be wary of those whose mission is simply to set toll gates around learning with the aim of “monetising education” while still continuing to build public private partnerships with those who have higher ideals and are willing to work for and with us to support learners in Scotland.

Last year was dominated by the forces of change one way or another in all areas of my work.

Huge changes in institutions in Scotland

  • Education Scotland arriving, on the one hand meant lots of leaving parties, but meant too that change and handovers dominated the agenda of many meetings over the year.
  • Glow metamorphosing into what?.. we’ll find out early in New Year
  • JORUM changing direction and management structures,
  • November and December lots of meetings around future shape of further education in Scotland and Glasgow,  as a Board Member at Anniesland College. The impact of restructuring  on the further education sector will become apparent to many in the coming year.
  • One major scheduled change; Curriculum for Excellence and the roll new national qualifications,  this is doing well against a background of change and sticking to its delivery timeline

Internally I spent almost a year cajoling and encouraging some policy changes to make it an easier option to take vendor SCQF credit and leveled awards into national awards where institutions and qualification development teams need this.  This was behind the scenes work to support the DIVA project where we welcomed Linux at the start of year and VMWare at end of year.  Still patchy communication and information flow between centres and vendors and not enough made of opportunities that come from many of them.   Did my bit too to help SQA finally get a social software policy in place and hope it makes a difference in coming year.

On DIVA we hope to do more around communications early in New Year.  It was great to see a strong Scottish presence over in Washington for Partners in Learning Conference but I still fear many of these opportunities pass too many by in the main as folks are not aware of all the development opportunities available to them.

Finally an active year for Cross Party Skills Committee transitioning with new administration, on-going work getting things in place for Scotland’s Commonwealth Games 2014 through the Legacy Committee and lots of fine tuning of offers through the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment and at end of year lots of work with Scotland’s Colleges, Skills Development Scotland and Education Scotland looking once again at a shared services agenda.

I was fortunate too to get along to ALT-C11  and OER11 this year 

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