FROM UKIP’S DEPUTY LEADER Dumbing down ex­ams is just so dumb

STRAIGHT TALK­ING

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to all the young­sters who passed their A-lev­els last week.

Some 98 per cent passed with grades A-G. As usual, the govern­ment tell us this is a RECORD.

How­ever, we are be­gin­ning to sound like the lead­ers of old Soviet Union telling the pub­lic each year that wheat pro­duc­tion had reached record lev­els, even though the pop­u­la­tion were queu­ing for bread.

We all know it isn’t real. Only a fool wouldn’t be­lieve that A-lev­els are get­ting eas­ier.

For ex­am­ple, they’re no longer just as­sessed by an exam – course­work now ac­counts for up to 50% of the fi­nal mark and this can be handed in and re-marked time and time again.

Mask

Exam boards seem happy to in­flate grades – and col­leges are keen to al­low this to hap­pen so they can trum­pet their suc­cess.

I do not write this as some­one with no knowl­edge or ex­pe­ri­ence of ed­u­ca­tion. Be­fore I was elected to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment I lec­tured at a col­lege and then at a univer­sity.

When Labour came to power in 1997 un­der the slo­gan ‘ed­u­ca­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, ed­u­ca­tion’, they were com­mit­ted to send­ing 50% of all 18-year-olds to univer­sity.

Now we can ar­gue that this was be­cause they wanted to see a more ed­u­cated na­tion, but us cyn­ics be­lieve it was to mask un­em­ploy­ment statis­tics.

What­ever, Labour’s tar­get was wrong­headed. Just be­cause you send half of 18-year-olds to uni does not guar­an­tee you will have a pro­duc­tive econ­omy.

Greece sends the most kids to univer­sity in the Euro­pean Union and Den­mark sends the least. Who do you think has the stronger econ­omy?

Send­ing so many of our young­sters – around 2.5 mil­lion – to uni has also dra­mat­i­cally in­creased the costs and this has to be clawed back.

The govern­ment de­cided it will charge £9,000 a year for higher ed­u­ca­tion. This is ter­ri­bly un­fair

and puts many work­ing class kids off go­ing to univer­sity al­to­gether.

It has also left a huge gap in trades. Many of th­ese young­sters would be bet­ter suited to go­ing off and train­ing to be brick­lay­ers, elec­tri­cians and plumbers.

In­stead, they find them­selves on cour­ses that will not pre­pare them for the real world or give them the skills to find a job at the end of univer­sity life.

Many kids leav­ing uni­ver­si­ties to­day find that the jobs just aren’t there for them, so they do one of two things – ei­ther do a job which they are over-qual­i­fied for or go on the dole.

It also al­lows politi­cians to say that we have to bring more peo­ple from Eastern Europe into the coun­try be­cause ‘they do jobs Bri­tish peo­ple won’t do’. It’s our own fault.

We need to re­duce the num­ber of 18-year-olds go­ing into higher ed­u­ca­tion and get them into trades. For this, we need to give com­pa­nies greater in­cen­tives to take on more ap­pren­tices.

We also need to stop dumbing down A-lev­els. Life is com­pet­i­tive and harsh and we need to pre­pare our kids for that.

‘Prizes for all’ ed­u­ca­tion does ex­actly the op­po­site.

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