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School of Skoda

The transformation of the Skoda car - once an icon of Eastern Bloc engineering - is providing inspiration for the Department for Education and Skills.

You may remember how German efficiency turned the little Czech motors into something a Surrey housewife would be happy to do the shopping in.

I hear a delegation from Skoda recently came over as guests of civil servants who thought therebranding of the cars might inspire some thoughts about how further education could be given a new lease of life.

But what can the DfES learn from Skoda? Before Volkswagen took over, Skoda production suffered from under-investment and the meddling incompetence of a centralist state obsessed with Soviet-style planning, production targets and a complete lack of flair.

Ring any bells?

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