Ask Ed Balls what went wrong. I’m sure it’ll all be the fault of the Tories for their disastrous 13 years out of power.
Sir Mike Rake said the telecoms giant binned almost a quarter of all applications made for a new apprenticeship scheme because candidates appeared “completely illiterate”.
Many young people now fail to have the basic skills needed to get by in the workplace, he said.
The comments represent the latest in a series of attacks on the education system by Britain’s leading businessmen.
Sir Terry Leahy, outgoing chief executive of Tesco, has criticised the “woefully low” standards achieved by many schoolchildren and Sir Stuart Rose, head of Marks & Spencer, said many young people were “not fit for work”.
Sir Mike said 26,000 applications were made for 170 places on BT’s apprenticeship programme starting this autumn, but 6,000 were not worthy of consideration.
I actually feel really sorry for kids who’ve been through the state education system in the last 20 years. Its parlous inadequacy is the single biggest betrayal of British people in my living memory.
Oh and sure, Labour didn’t fix things, but neither did the Tories. The rot set in long before 1997, thanks to a vast tranche of swivel-eyed ideologues in the teaching profession, the objectives of whom were not to equip children for lifelong learning and inquisitiveness, but to effect social engineering on a scale unheard of outside communist countries.
Still, when I left school, men of 50 were being thrown on the scrapheap as flexibly, hungry youngsters emerged to work in a way more fitting to the times.
If the education system continues to turn out such stunted individuals, I foresee no such worries for when I’m 50 myself.
One thought on “13 years to put this right. Did they? Could they have?”
I got a damn good education. But unfortunately the fees at the school I went to are currently twenty-seven thousand quid a year (or 40 grand US for Seppo readers.) Maybe we don’t need to spend that much per child to get a passably literate set of scholars, but I don’t think there’s any denying that the huge over-representation of privately-educated people in the higher echelons of society is strongly correlated with fee-paying per se. When you fork over the price of a nice car, out of taxed income, every single year, just to give your beloved offspring an educational headstart, you bloody well want to get your money’s worth. I think the decoupling of the funding of education from its reliable delivery has been one of the greatest triumphs of the Gramscian Left. Private schooling has an immediate and strong feedback loop: if it doesn’t do what the parents want, it crashes and burns. An entire board of governors can be gone in a heartbeat if a clientele worth 20 million pounds a year chooses. But even though the client base is vastly huger in aggregate, and the stakes vastly higher, there is no concomitant redress against educational malfeasance in the State system. This is why Gove’s idea of devolving school management to a lower echelon of responsibility is so vitally important. Reconnecting parents with the functioning (and funding) of their schools will yield remarkable results, I believe. Given my druthers, I would burn down the entire system of LEAs and close the teacher training colleges (train ’em on the job, like everyone else) given that they are nests of Leftist indoctrination. I doubt there’s sufficient ideological fire in this weak-tea administration to do anything so radical, alas.