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Petition to the Scottish Parliament

petition was presented to the Scottish Parliament on the subject of information literacy. It called upon the Scottish Parliament 'to urge the Scottish Executive to ensure that the national school curriculum recognises the importance of information literacy as a key lifelong learning skill.' A supporting document explained this and suggested ways forward. There are two stages in petitioning the Scottish parliament.

  1. An electronic petition which aims to collect signatures in support of the petition

The electronic petition was posted on the Parliament website on the 26th October 2005 with a closing date for signatures 16 th December 2005 . During that time it attracted 710 signatures in total; 415 were from Scotland , 186 from England , 31 from Wales and the rest from other parts of the world including Canada , The United States and Australia . Signatures included the names of some leading figures in the information literary movement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who signed. It strengthened our hand greatly.

  1. A petition to the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament

The Petitions Committee met on the 21 st December 2005 to consider the petition along with six others.

I made a short opening presentation in which I drew attention to the worldwide interest in the petition. We (Chris Milne, Christine Irving and I) then answered questions for about half an hour and it was clear that the committee members were genuinely interested in the issue and had given it some thought. These included:

  • What research and development activity is taking place?
  • Should information literacy be implicit or explicit in the curriculum?
  • Do librarians feel undervalued and are they just trying the raise their image
  • Who will take responsibility for information literacy within the curriculum?

After the questions there was some discussion about how to progress the issue and it was decided to put it out for comment to the Scottish Executive, The Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIe) and Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) plus the relevant trade unions in the teaching profession and the overarching university body (Universities Scotland).

It has to be said that Christine and I are in contact with many of these bodies already but a letter under the banner of the Scottish Parliament will carry a lot more weight than we can. The collated responses will come back to the Petitions Committee for further consideration.

For a full transcript of the committee meeting see the Public Petitions Committee Official Report for the 21 December 2005

My MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) Ken Mackintosh has been very supportive in preparing the petition and asked several questions in the Scottish Parliament in support of the petition.