Youth Matters

One of the most unfortunate consequences of the current global financial crisis is the very high level of youth unemployment particularly in Europe. Sadly the present situation looks like it will persist for some time and already commentators are talking about a lost generation mirroring a similar situation in a number of regions in Britain in the 1980s e.g. North East and South West of England. I had direct experience of that situation in Cornwall and the plethora of short term schemes introduced by the then government most of which failed to create long term solutions. Unfortunately at present one

Writing for Toffee?

Richard Evans is concerned about the decline in writing skills. Last September a number of daily papers (e.g. The Independent 6/09/08) ran reports on a study by exam boards and assessors/markers on the ability of candidates sitting GCSE and ‘A’ levels examinations to write their answers in longhand. According to the report, the number of requests from candidates for ‘scribes’ in examinations had increased from 28,324 in 2005 to 40,215 in 2007. The figures relate to the total number of requests for ‘scribes’ and clearly a particular candidate might require help for more than one subject. However it was unlikely

Working Away

Dick Evans, Principal of Stockport College of F&HE, considers Curriculum 2000, NVQs and realistic working , environments (RWEs). The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) are currently preparing the specifications for the qualifications and awards that will attach to the new proposed national curriculum framework. This is increasingly being referred to as Curriculum 2000 (C2k). The framework will be established from September 2000 and one of the new pieces of jargon is associated with the word ‘specifications’, previously known as syllabuses. ‘Specifications’ will recognise the necessary knowledge, skills, understanding and competence that will be assessed for the purpose of awarding a

WHENCE THE SKILLED TECHNICIAN?

On 23 April 1996 the Foundation held a lecture and dinner discussion under the title “Whence the Skilled Technician?” The Lord Butterworth CBE DL was in the chair and the evening was sponsored by the Engineering Council and the Engineering Training Authority. The speakers were Mr John Spensley, operations manager, Graseby’s pic, Mr Victor Lucas, senior inspector (Engineering), FEFC and Dr R.G. Evans, Principal, Stockport College of Further Education and Higher Education. Summary of talk by Dr Evans who said there was still no long-term strategic framework for education and training in the country. The need for an urgent review

What’s in a Name?

The University for industry (UfI) is a serious misnomer. Dick Evans brings employers and colleges into the debate. The Government’s Green Paper ‘The Learning Age’ highlighted a number of initiatives to develop lifelong learning. Two of these will become a reality – as the Government, and particularly Gordon Brown, is committed to them – the University for Industry and Individual Learning Accounts. The Green Paper projected a vision of the University for Industry that would exploit the newer technologies to boost productivity, employability and competitiveness. Although this seems exciting and innovative, many questions are still unanswered. Even when the Ufl

What Price Institutional Solvency

The continued operation of the ‘free market’ precipitates a whole series of paradoxes to companies and organisations. Employers, both in the private and public sector, struggle to cope with increasing competition and continuing cuts and Government requirements to make ‘efficiency gains’. As staffing levels continue to be reduced, they are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the quality of their products and services. This is most certainly true of organisations such as the prison service, probation, health, social services and education. One accepts that a great many manufacturing industries have witnessed significant cutbacks, yet they have managed to increase productivity

Vocational Science -Endangered Provision?

Post-16 institutions currently offer a wide range of programmes of study for awards in science-specific and science-related areas. Examples of this provision are GCSE, A levels. General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs), occupationally specific National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and other vocational qualifications (VQs). Many FE colleges are now finding it difficult to maintain this range of provision, because of the high cost of delivery coupled with relatively low numbers of students enrolled on some of the programmes of study. This is particularly true for vocational provision. The recent tariff revision proposals, given in FEFC Circular 96/28, indicate that the tariffs are

Vocational HE

Bringing an occupational focus into degree courses may be considered an important aspect of Government policy, but is HE prepared and willing to respond? Dr Dick Evans provides an interesting insight. The crude oppositional approach to debates between vocational (training) and academic education has been a long and largely unproductive one. Many reports and government publications have over many decades advocated the merits of recognising the equal value of vocational education and training within the Further and Higher sectors. It now appears that this government have rediscovered the importance of vocational education particularly at the higher education level and through

Viewpoint – Graduate Nation.

A recent Government White Paper proposed the introduction of General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQs) to rationalize the British education system. Under this scheme, those who left school at 16 would be able to enter higher education on the strength of vocational qualifications. Dick Evans explains the workings of this radical new approach and argues that such a system will give Britain’s workforce the flexibility necessary to maintain the nation’s position in an increasingly competitive world. At last this country has realized that it must invest in post-16 education and training, not only for its existing workforce but for that of

VIEWPOINT

“THE SANDS OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ARE LITTERED WITH THE WHITE BONES OF WELL INTENTIONED ENDEAVOURS”. A Viewpoint. Paper presented at a conference. 1997. The recent announcement to scrap the White Paper on ‘Lifelong Learning’, to be replaced by a series of consultation papers shows the fragmented situation as far as the Government’s long term strategic vision for education is concerned. This White Paper was supposed to draw together and respond to a number of pre-existing initiatives and research, namely Higginson, Kennedy, Fryer and possibly Dearing. One could add to these the ideas of the Labour Party in opposition on the