Yes of course, employers have been complaining about the quality of our education system since well before Abraham Darby, but in the dumbed down world of Prizes For All it's hardly surprising that complaints have reached a new pitch. And the CBI's pleas come from big international companies who can make direct comparisons with the situation elsewhere around the world:
The CEO of Siemens UK says of school leavers: "Embarrassingly large numbers of people leave secondary school unable even to read and write properly." Siemens struggles to find well-trained school leavers to work in manufacturing and take up apprenticeships. "We find the quality of people coming out of the secondary education system is pretty dire on the whole."
Of course, the government is spending £9bn pa on its so-called "Skills" industry, desperately trying to patch up the damage after people have left school. But not only is that a huge waste of money, it doesn't work either: employers prefer to manage their own training even though it costs them more.
Things are just as bad at graduate level. The managing director of Sanofi-Aventis UK says: “We employ just over 3,000 people in the UK. It is not the quantity of graduates, it is the quality. We are having to retrain graduates in laboratory skills.”
And it isn't just the obvious science-based firms: any business that needs numerate workers is looking overseas. From IT to investment banking, Labour's social engineering approach to education means high value added, high paid jobs are being forced to emigrate.
The government's response? Schools Minister Jim Knight says "Rising standards are not the symptoms of a flawed system, they are a reflection of success."
Er...rising standards, Jim? Who, apart from you and the producers, thinks that standards are rising?
PS According to DfES, Jim Knight is Minister of State for Schools and 14 - 19 learners. But according to his own website he's the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity. How very reassuring- maybe that's why he's talking such balls about education.
PPS Multiple unscholarly spelling errors have been corrected on this blog thanks to beady eyed readers: stones and glasshouses spring to mind.