A welcome bit of official meddling

18th April 2008 at 01:00

I'm retired - and therefore it's easy for me to speak - but I must take issue with some of my ex-colleagues who are still at the "chalkface" when they object to the new qualification requirements being imposed on teachers in colleges.

I was a vocational lecturer in London and the home counties, and very pleased to be passing my skills on to students. But I always felt that teaching itself is a craft in its own right and that, as far as teaching technique was concerned, I was rather making it up as I went along.

Of course, I felt I was good at teaching, and certainly there was plenty of evidence in terms of the performance of students.

But that doesn't get me off the hook. Colleges exist so that people should be properly trained and qualified. That is the basis under which they get public funding.

If we accept this principle, we have to accept it applies to colleges' own employees - and certainly those doing the teaching.

FE has been in the shadow of schools for far too long, and the pay and status of lecturers lags far behind those teaching in the compulsory sector.

It is also an extremely rewarding career for those, like me, who want a change of direction and have some skills to pass on.

Imposing teaching qualifications on FE lecturers will make it harder to recruit, and that means pressure on lecturers' salaries - pressure in the right (upward) direction.

This is one bit of government meddling we should all welcome.

Tony Carson, Guildford, Surrey.

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