PATRICK Harvie has said he wants to scrap school exams as they put pupils under “stress and pressure”.

The Scottish Greens co-leader said teaching children to expect a career based on such burdens was not a “happy thought”, adding: “It’s not what life should be about.”

The Glasgow MSP said the Scots education system was still designed for the 19th century, with an “obsession” for exams, and “we really need to go back to scratch”.

Mr Harvie made the comments in a feisty exchange on education in the latest Herald podcast with former BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor.

The Scottish Green manifesto says “high-stakes” end of term exams should be replaced with continuous assessment, as all-or-nothing tests are not the best way to measure pupils’ knowledge or their ability to apply their skills.

Mr Harvie was asked how employers or universities could assess if job or course applicants were of a certain standard if traditional exams were scrapped.

He said exams were “all about coping with stress and pressure”.

Mr Taylor put it to him: “Life’s about stress and pressure. Don’t we have to get used to that?

“At least these exams tell you who’s good at algebra.”

Mr Harvie responded: “Is that a happy thought? That life’s all about stress and pressure? Is that what we aspire to?”

Mr Taylor said: “I don’t know whether it’s a happy thought, Mr Harvie. But if you’re going to get a job, if you’re going to go to university...”

READ MORE: How to listen to The Brian Taylor Podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Mr Harvie interjected: “It’s not what life should be about. We shouldn’t be creating this expectation that life is some emotionally draining, exhausting, rat race and that we’re teaching young people to be ready for that.

“Year-round assessment is the best way to assess not just how much young people have learned, but make sure that if they’re struggling with something through the year, that you identify that right there and then and you find ways to help them and assist them through it.

“Effectively we’ve still got an education system that is designed for the 19th or 20th century.

“And we really need to go back to scratch and think, ‘What are we trying to achieve here?’ and how can we learn from the best, most innovative, creative approaches that’ve been taken elsewhere.”

Elsewhere in the discussion, Mr Harvie took aim at Alex Salmond and his new Alba Party, which, like the Greens, is seeking pro-independence votes on the Holyrood regional lists.

Mr Harvie said he didn’t think Green voters were “attracted to yesterday’s men”, and called Mr Salmond “a bit of a discredited figure” who was on an “ego trip”.

He said Mr Salmond wasn’t the answer to any of the many urgent questions facing Scotland, such as the climate emergency or inequality.

‘The Brian Taylor Podcast’ can be found on Spotify and Apple Music from 9am today.