Friday, January 12, 2007
Key Problem of Raising the School Leaving Age to 18
Back in 1915 the majority of jobs were available to the unskilled working classes. Clearly the world of work has been transformed; my question and worry is: have the attitudes to training and education changed accordingly amongst the groups who most need it? Back on February 3rd 2006 I reported on some teaching I had done involving GCSE candidates. My experience was mixed; some groups were attentive and motivated and I think/hope benefited. Others were completely alienated from the introduction I was offering to help equip them the better for the adult world they were soon to join.
No matter how much I persuaded, wheedled, exhorted or finally, begged, they were wholly uninterested and wanted only to subvert my teaching and mess about. Very depressing it was too. Yet these same young subversives had stated they wanted to become civil engineers, barristers, doctors. It used to be said that working class kids lacked ambition but here the mismatch was between their aspirations and attitudes to the means whereby such goals could be achieved. Our relatively low school staying on rate helps explain why our skill levels are low enough to threaten seriously our international competitiveness.
We seem to have produced a large group of people who bring up their children to share the aspiration to achieve the end products of higher education(good) without accepting any of the rigours required for the necessary route to such objectives(disastrous). We learn that Alan Johnson has recently been to Canada and been impressed by their wheeze of with-holding driving licences from young people who refuse to stay on at school; apparently this has drawn in loads of youngsters who would otherwise have drifted onto the labour market bereft of skills.
I wonder if that works though, because it seems to me that if youngsters do not want to stay on in the first place they would be unlikely to exert much effort to benefit from such opportunities even if they were bribed or bullied into doing so. How do we solve this vital preliminary requirement? Search me, but it might be an idea to recognise the problem in the first place.
Seriously it's a tough one but I think that we should have much stronger lifetime learning.
The main thing Alan Johnson's measure would do is roll back to the times of proper craft and industrial foundations from the slapdash Tory ways of getting away with things, which clearly have a health and safety aspect too.
Lifelong learning is perhaps going to lose out in the short term through re-jigged priorities but I suppose in the longer term NL would say (and OL might for once agree) that people will have got into the habit of learning and being more employable they will have the £2 an hour needed for LLL in less employability orientated areas.
Where would the money come from to employ more lecturers and teachers?
Education is already under-funded with schools and colleges lacking in finances and staff.
I am a parent of a child with special needs and I have been told by my LEA that there is only a small pot of money and not enough to provide for all the needs of all the children.
Big ideas..........small purse.
The whole education thing. Simple. If a minority of young people are not motivated to gain the skills they need for employment, then let them be unemployed. Make being unemployed as unattractive as possible - don't pay them. Don't spend resources on them. They can starve for all I care. As well as natural justice, this would provide an incentive for the others to get their finger out. Either way, I fail to see why this is, in any way, my problem.
I suppose that is the main problem; if they don't want to study no-one can force them. Experience proves there is a seemingly irreducible core who occupy such a category. Hence the danger of simply increasing the time young people will be unhappily 'within' the education system.
You se I think it IS your problem, and mine and everyone else's. If young people are left unemployed they'll turn to crime and then everyone is at risk. I'm presuming you're not in favour of death squads of the type used in Rio and elsewhere in Brazil or any kind of eugenics and other solutions rejected early on in the last century...
There we go, regardless of whose problem it is, it would be solved. If only we had a Government that did what the people want...
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