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