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A lesson in Scottish education.

- A very useful visit with inspirational debates. That was Rolf Reikvam’s conclusion after a day of talks with Scottish education authorities. Reikvam chairs the Standing Committee on Education, Research and Church Affairs in the Norwegian parliament. The committee is on a tour of several European countries preparing to discuss the government’s with paper "Enhanced quality in the basic education for all" in two weeks’ time.

08/07/2004 :: - Our main challenge is the transition through the education system from nursery and pre-school to upper secondary level, says Reikvam who headed the 15 strong delegation. – We must get more knowledge about how the education system works for the individual student. This is where Scotland has some interesting structures.

Quality development, assessment in schools and the role of HM Inspectorate of Education was top of the agenda in the committee’s meeting with representatives from the Scottish Executive Education Department and members of the Scottish Parliaments Education Committee.

During the 1990’s the Norwegian Education system went through a number of comprehensive changes, resulting in reforms of content and structure as well as the legal basis for the education system. In the aftermath of these reforms critical questions have keen asked regarding forms of assessment, curriculum schedules and the responsibility of adapting education to each pupils needs.

- We may have focused too much on the whole class, and not enough on the individual student, says Reikvam. He feels there are much to be done on national tests and getting the resulting information back to the schools in a format that is useful to them: – In Scotland there is great emphasis on assessment and guidance in each school.

- It has been very interesting to see just how parallel the debate in our to countries is, says Reikvam. – It is very inspirational to discuss these issues with representatives from another educational system. Our starting points may be different, but the aim of quality education for every student is the same.

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Committee Chair Rolf Reikvam, Head of Scottish Executive Education Department Jeff Maguire, Brian Adam MSP and Consul general Arne Sivertsen.Photo: Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Edinburgh