Poor teaching leaves bored students badly prepared for work
STUDENTS in Scotland’s colleges are often left “bored” and “disengaged”, and lacking in the skills required by employers, according to inspectors.
A report by watchdog Education Scotland, which was carried out on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council, found that “more than a few” students were turned off from learning due to the way they were being taught.
The study comes as colleges undergo a radical overhaul as part of the Scottish Government’s plans to merge institutions to save money.
While largely positive about the role colleges play in preparing their students for the workplace, the Education Scotland report noted that in some institutions, there was a “lack of focus and clarity” over the skills learners are expected to develop.
Inspectors visited 12 colleges on two occasions, as well as carrying out analysis of the role of further education in relation to the jobs market.
According to the report, colleges “take good account” of the Scottish Government’s skills strategies, and “work well” with employers. But the report added: “In a few colleges, there is a lack of focus and clarity relating to the skills that learners are expected to attain, and how they will do so.
“For more than a few learners, insufficient contextualisation and embedding of core skills in their programmes leads to boredom and disengagement from their learning activities.”
Inspectors were also critical of colleges where there was a lack of focus on essential skills such as literacy, numeracy and communication.
Commenting on the report, a spokeswoman for umbrella organisation Scotland’s Colleges said: “Education Scotland’s report recognises that colleges in Scotland are working to the Scottish Government’s skills strategies and provide structured support to learners, ensuring that essential skills are embedded in their courses and continually built upon.
“Colleges already work well with local and national employers to deliver essential skills and with local authorities to offer programmes to school-based learners.
“Scotland’s Colleges will work closely with Education Scotland and our member colleges to provide guidance and tools for delivery, as well as engaging with employers to ensure essential skills to meet their needs.”
Last week, business leaders raised concerns about cuts being made to Scotland’s further education sector, amid warnings from colleges that student numbers have fallen by 80,000 in the past two years.
Addressing the criticisms of the latest report, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This is exactly why our post-16 reforms are designed to increase the focus on preparing students for employment.
“We have also provided funding to work directly with colleges to provide places with a high focus on successful learning that leads to a job or progression. This will help engage young people in their learning and ensure they leave with the skills and knowledge to get a job.”
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