Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Disaster Happening Right Now


Jim launches new Bananas Diploma

Last month we blogged the Public Accounts Committee probe into the government's flagship school Diploma qualification. Diplomas are a classic piece of half-baked Commissariat wibble, rushed through even though everything from content to teaching requirements is still unresolved. A PAC member nailed the whole nonsense as "a disaster waiting to happen".

Now, the head of Edexcel, the UK's largest exam body, has more or less said the same thing. He says the whole project contains serious flaws and that 40,000 students are already being stuffed with "worthless" qualifications. He talks of "traumatic" stress and "huge educational risk".

Worst of all, as the PAC pointed out, the students who will be worst hit are those at the bottom of the academic pile. Their best bet by far would have been to take a traditional vocational qualifications which have real economic value in terms of employability. But instead, they have been herded into doing these new Diplomas because, this year, that's what the Commissars want.

During my lifetime, one-size universalist exams have inflicted horrific damage on educational standards in Britain. They've certainly dumbed down and held back attainment at the top of the academic tree (eg A Levels are two grades easier- see this blog). But perhaps even more shamefully, they have conned generations of less academic kids into taking ever more flimsy qualifications that have zero value in the job market.

And the Commissars' reaction?

The State Families Directorate asserts that Edexcel's charges are "an absurd misrepresentation". And the ever useless Jim Knight (WTF is he still Schools Minister?) says “The diploma is going from strength to strength and has wibblegumppfbagblither..."

Strength to strength.

Does he actually believe that, or is it just more last-days-in-the-bunker denial? Just how dumbed down does he think we are?

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