Nicola Sturgeon's 'disastrous' record on running Scotland's schools and NHS was savaged today
Opponents also rounded on the First Minister as she twice failed to condemn SNP MSP John Mason who claimed teachers in the past had placed "too much emphasis" on academic studies.
Mr Mason was mocked at Holyrood after suggesting on Twitter the country had "moved on" from the need for high standards of literacy and numeracy.
The Glasgow Shettleson MSP claimed surgeons don’t need to spell, IT workers shouldn’t bother with grammar, and that there was "too much emphasis on academic."
Tory leader Ruth Davidson challenged the First Minister over his remarks as she hit out over teacher shortages across the country and the SNP's controversial Curriculum for Excellence.
Ms Davidson accused the SNP of presiding over "10 years of failure" and blaming "everybody else" for the Government's "mess".
The clashes unfolded just 24 hours after Education Secretary John Swinney admitted cuts to teacher training in 2011 probably went too far and contributed to the current shortfall – with some 700 vacancies in Scotland.
Tory leader Ruth Davidson challenged the First Minister over SNP MSP John Mason's remarks
Trainee intake targets were slashed at the time to tackle a "high level of teacher unemployment".
Standards of literacy are vitally important as a foundation for everything
Ms Davidson attacked the Nationalist's "boom and bust" approach and urged Ms Sturgeon to "admit her Government's disastrous workforce planning".
Highlighting Mr Mason's tweets she said: "Is this the view of the SNP Government, because if it is it explains why standards are so poor?"
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Ms Sturgeon insisted the "highest standards of literacy are so vital for every single young person".
She added: "Standards of literacy are vitally important as a foundation for everything else our young people do.
Ms Sturgeon insisted the 'highest standards of literacy are so vital for every single young person'
"That is why we will get on with the job of building on the progress we have made in our education system."
Ms Sturgeon also insisted the cuts to teacher training came after "unanimous advice" from the teacher workforce planning group, which includes councils, unions and universities.
She also added that numbers have increased "in every single year" since then.
Later Mr Mason faced a barrage of laughter as he posed questions over teacher training.
Conservative education Liz Smith spokeswoman again pressed Ms Sturgeon on whether she agreed with Mr Mason's tweets.
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Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland
Ms Sturgeon ducked the question as she spoke about initiatives to boost literacy adding: "We will continue to get on with all those things and, as we do so, I hope that we have the support of members across the chamber."
Even though education is devolved issue opponents have been focusing attacks on the Nationalist's decade long record in the countdown to the June 8 poll.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale highlighted new figures showing more than 38,000 patients waited longer than the SNP's 12 week legally-binding time guarantee in the last year.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale who commented on the SNP's record running the NHS
Attacking the SNP's "10-year dismal record" on the NHS she said patients had a better chance of being treated on time before the legislation came into force in 2012.
She said: "Isn't that what happens when the SNP spends more time running a campaign for a referendum than it does running our NHS?"
But the First Minister insisted that on "many indicators" Scotland's health service was performing better than elsewhere in the UK including in Wales where Labour runs its devolved administration.
Ms Sturgeon's spokesman later insisted she had "made her views clear" on Mr Mason's tweets adding: "Literacy and numeracy are important and that's the First Minister's view."