Education - A voice crying in the wilderness.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by smartascarrots, Feb 16, 2008.

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    Oxford Professor Richard Pring issued a clarion call for the return of an emphasis on 'teaching' to education instead of an endless struggle to deliver 'measurables'.

    One thing in particular his report highlighted was that even those remaining vocational paths left to kids tend to try and shoehorn them into an academic model for learning, which may or may not be suitable for kids.

    Personally, I think he's hit the nail on the head. Certain subjects are best learned by doing, not by reading; certain people learn best by doing stuff, not by reading about it. The UK seems to have closed down any route to learning other than the academic one; couple it with the government's determination that everyone will get an academic degree and it's not too hard to see where the temptation to 'dumb down' comes from.

    Where I think he's missed an opportunity (probably due to the gallery he was playing to) was in not extending his analysis to professional vocational subject such as teaching or nursing.
  2. I think that quite a few of the basic qualifications in the army are fairly worthless as it is. I recently did my CLM2 and some civvie woman tried to get us to pay (20% us 80% army) for some civvie certificate (can't remember which as I didn't want it anyway. I hardly think civvie street is going to fall over itself to get people with these qualification.
    Has anyone else noticed just how many qualifications you can buy for doing very little work?
    Are the any civvie employers out there that recognise them and want them? Or is it yet another goverment blag to make us feel like we have acheived something.
  3. 1. Not really...

    2. Yep!
  4. Qualifications get you in the door so dont knock them irrespective of what they are . The more you have the better. Employers need these as measurement sticks, if you havnt got any at all then do something about it before you get out. I know experienced guys with zip quals who stand to make a poor mans wage on the outside. On the other hand, there are those with quals who will walk into a 30/40k salary easily because they planned ahead before they left. Start 7 years out then you will have time to gather all the quals you need including time for a degree.
  5. I won't deny that some qualifications are going to be helpful. However on my CLM2 we were offered a certificate that involved us doing an additional 8 hours work and handing over about 17 quid (with the army paying the other 80%) It seems to me that employers on civvie street must know the bone qualifications from the decent ones, Yet its hasn't stopped the army from pushing us to buy them.
    Anyone done the learn direct maths level 2? Where Pi has mysteriously changed into 3! Or the English test which is a mainly a multiple choice test so even a chimp stands a chance of getting the right answer.
  6. Depends on the type of qualification for the job you want. I recently put an ad in the paper for an office manager. Got about 10 CVs telling me about their hairdressing qualifications and another 5 with beauty treatment therapy quals. Computer skills quals will at least get you a look in as will any membership of a professional body, (IEEE, FRCS even MISM will at least get you looked at). And caspiandood is correct. The more qualifications will get you a better job, or at least more interviews. I would just qualify that with more RELEVANT qualifications.
    And by the way, our education system if cr@p. Perhaps asking student to write down what they know instead of picking from a multi choice paper would be a good start.
  7. I disagree with you.

    There are no shortage of routes through which one might educate oneself at public expense and several of those routes involve vocational learning. If anything, there are too many routes available making things very confusing.

    Take NVQs - one can obtain it through an apprenticeship and the apprenticeship itself can take 2 forms - a 2 year apprenticeship where one llearns the trade from the employer from scratch or go to college get the theory part sorted, then prove your competence with an employer.

    Another example would be Fd Degrees which are essentially vocational degrees which can be topped up to a full degree with another year of study. The CRE offers this to class one Geo Techs.

    HNDs etc have always been available though they probably aren't always as 'vocational' as NVQs.

    As far as education is concerned, imo, the problem is there being too many providers and too little quality control.

    Edit: I do agree that some aspects of vocational education seem quite daft. Eg. wtf do nurses and radiographers need a degree? IMO, there is an element of protectionism here. Everyone wants to be a 'professional' and therefore the way to justify that status and the increase in salaries is to make them degree qualified.
  8. His main thrust was that even the allegedly vocational routes, such as NVQ, assess students, "not so much on what they could "do" but how well they could write about and analyse their "doing"." In other words, they're not really 'vocational' at all.
  9. Not really, well as far can I can tell.

    He says that providers of GNVQs and potentially the diplomas, try to maintain equivalency with GCSEs and A levels and therefore students are assessed somewhat academically.

    GNVQs are not quite the same as NVQs.

    edit: Btw it seems GNVQs have been phased out!

    He is essentially making general warning noises about trying to strait-jacket kids into academic routes.

    I've had a look at some of these equivalency charts and I agree with the professor that they are quite disconcerting, one reason being that there seems to be an element of fantasy about them. Someone with an NVQ Level 3 in plumbing is definitely not on the same academic level as some one with 2 or more A levels. There simply isn't and shouldn't be any comparison because they are 2 different things. I would not go to the A level student for tips on plumbing but neither would I ask the plumber to discuss the west lothian qn in any depth.

    I suppose that is what the professor is getting at.
  10. Tony Bliar said:

    Education, Education, Education.

    I knew he didn't understand what he was saying, and I knew it would not happen!

    This so-called government has less substance and reality than a desert mirage.
  11. He is right in a sense. The problem is simply providing opportunities (of which there are plenty) isn't enough. The kids have to want those opportunities too and imo that is where the system has failed.
  12. The distinction between academic and vocational is meaningless.

    For example I have known of senior figures in NHS trying to gain an appreciation of engineering by studying for ONC. And failing at first year because they could not hack the maths.

    I have known senior figures in management and accountancy, boasting "MBA", who could not do calculus (Optimum stock holdings ... maxima and minima sub A level stuff ?)

    Academics as long as the subject is restricted to the wordies and not the numbers.

    I think Professor R V Jones had it right.
  13. It isn't just education. This corrosive way of speaking has permeated it's way into many forms of life. It is all "management speak" where you do not say exactly what you mean and there are ways to dodge being responsible for what you do.
  14. Just an example. The Open University (a reputable education provider). Course in Accounting (a "real" thought out profession). Duration -- 1 year; cost -- £2310. At the end of it you will have a CERTIFICATE. The course is designed "for people who have no degree but want a route into the accounting profession as well as for anyone who needs fundamental accountancy skills in a management or other role." In other words, if you are already holding a certain position and you need to up your skills or get a paper in order to secure your job and look good in the eyes of your employer, you go for it. Otherwise, be prepared to spend more money and time on a follow-up courses before you can start looking for a job.

    So, whatever they were offering you probably means nothing in the world of real employment.
  15. At the risk of sounding like a monomaniac on yet another subject, I'd put the blame squarely in the lap of modern British management culture, which holds that you can move freely between industries and sectors, and it matters not a jot how little you know about it so long as you have the appropriate managers credentials.

    Utter tosh and unspeakably arrogant, this purblind mentality leads to senior decisions being taken by people who can't even speak the lingo of the job they're doing, let alone understand its full complexity. So they resort to their own jibberish which aids communication with their similarly out-of-depth peers in different organisations, while detracting from it with their own subordinates.

    Why do they do this? Because they lack the humility to admit they don't know what they're taking decisions about, and lack the integrity to find out first.