Education spokesman Charlie Gray, responding to Confederation of British Industry claims he said:
'If we compared the position of Scottish education worldwide and the position of Scottish business world wide I know who would come out on top.
'Scotland's education system is renowned throughout the world and in any assessment it compares well with other countries be they in Europe or world wide.
'The reality is an educational system in which local authorities are providing the direction, public accountability and drive for improvement to support individual schools and teachers to deliver a world-class comprehensive education for Scotland's young people.
'Yes there remain challenges for all of us, not least to improve outcomes for our lowest attaining young people to help them fully develop and realise their potential. But an HMIe report published earlier this year showed that we are well positioned to meet those challenges and to ensure that Scotland's education system remains up there at the top of the class.
'Our exam results are good and steady and as a nation we are producing more graduates than ever before. Unfortunately these graduates are finding it ever harder to find real jobs and meaningful employment in the business sector so maybe the CBI should be looking closer to home.
'Maybe it is the fact that business leaders want to employ people on the cheap and do not want to pay higher salaries to graduates that is the real problem. It certainly appears that they want to invest as little as possible in them.
'It sounds to me as if the CBI are looking for exceptional people at as low a cost as possible who need little or no investment from their employer. Either that or this is simply them making a fairly crude and unsophisticated pitch at taking over Careers Scotland from Scottish Enterprise - that is up to them - but they should not do it by making Scotland's education system the scapegoat.'
Scottish Executive press release follows
Education is Scotland's 'strategy for the future'
Knowledge and skills are the best way to enhance Scotland's competitive advantage over the next 20 years, MSPs were told at the Scottish Parliament today.
Opening a debate on Scotland's Future, first minister Jack McConnell said only an educated population could respond to the challenges and opportunities that would arise in a world of global uncertainty.
He said he wanted Scotland's education system to be the best in the world by 2020.
'Learning is Scotland's strategy for the future because it changes lives, lifts people out of poverty, widens horizons and it will make our small nation stronger in a difficult and challenging world.'
Read the full text of the FM's speech