Developing Competence in Collegial Spaces: Exploring Critical Theory and Community Education
This chapter concerns professional development issues in community learning and development (CLD) in Scotland. The Scottish government has developed three national priorities for CLD (Scottish Executive 2004): achievement through learning for adults, achievement through learning for young people, and achievement through building community capacity. Work with adults involves raising standards of achievement through community-based lifelong learning opportunities incorporating the core skills of literacy, numeracy, communications, working with others, problem-solving and information communications technology (ICT). Work with young people is concerned with facilitating their personal, social and educational development, and enabling them to gain a voice, infl uence and a place in society. Building community capacity means enabling people to develop the confi dence, understanding and skills required to infl uence decision-making and service delivery. Professional workers are qualifi ed to degree level, and the Standards Council for CLD endorses the degree. These largely community-based workers deploy a range of informal and sometimes formal educational methods, and they work in a wide range of public and voluntary organizations and agencies including local authorities, housing agencies and charitable bodies representing practice domains such as youth work. CLD is unusual in the extent to which it crosses public and voluntary sectors, and in its reliance upon part-time and voluntary staff. Because of this range, it is diffi cult even to estimate the total size of the workforce, as accurate data for the whole fi eld do not exist. Although CLD features prominently in almost all aspects of government social policy, there is little fi nancial commitment to the work compared, for example, to the school sector or social work. As an indication of the scale of the lack of investment, it has recently been calculated that
there are only around 2260 full-time equivalent posts in Scottish local authorities (Learning Connections 2007, vii).