The Value of Higher National Certificates

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is an incredibly valuable award for people who are operating as technicians within industry. It was, and continues to be, an important award, particularly in the areas of science and science-related disciplines. It has always been very greatly valued by employers who have sponsored their employees to gain this qualification, possibly as an award in itself or in terms of progression on to a part-time degree orformembership of a professional body. However, over the past few years, colleges have witnessed dramatic declines in the enrolment of students on HNC awards, following the change of recruiting

Science and Policy Making.

Following a recent fascinating lecture organised by the Foundation of Science and Technology (Royal Society) on ‘Science and Policy’, I reflected on the possible implications for scientists as policy makers and/or socio-political influences and the resultant responsibilities of educational provides, whether in schools, colleges or universities. The role and influence of scientists in formulating national policy has never been more important. The scientific dimension is but one of a number of a wider range of complex and interacting dimensions associated with the social/political/ financial domain. With the increasing concerns about the long-term consequences of scientific and technological developments on the

Science education and museums

Sadly, colleges and universities have not fully appreciated the massive wealth that is contained within many museums around the country. Science and technology are particularly well catered for, not only in the traditional museums, but also in more specialist facilities like those available in London, Liverpool, Runcorn, Manchester and Bristol, as well as in a number of science exploratory centres around the country. Other possibilities exist too. Colleges could establish stronger links with the multitude of scientific associations, clubs and groups that are active throughout the UK. A recent report from the Department of National Heritage, “A Common Wealth –

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

Participation in Science – Could This be a Problem? – VIEWPOINT

Following a recent seminar on post-16 science, I reflected on the age-old issue of why science and technology do not attract more students into the post-16 phase. It has been evident since the Great Exhibition of 1851 that the culture in this country is hostile to science, engineering and technology. Could it be that some of the problems can be placed at the door of the science teaching community? I ask this question to provoke debate! Increasingly students choose a mixed economy of A levels and whereas 20-30 years ago students would take combinations of the separate sciences with applied