Another step towards privatisation

8th February 2008 at 00:00

I would suggest the enthusiasm displayed in the editorial of FE Focus (February 1) for allowing businesses such as McDonald's to award a qualification that would have equal status to an A-level is greatly misplaced.

Firstly, A-levels are expected to enhance a student's capacity for independent thought and intellect. A-level study encourages debate and confidence and offers a chance to engage with rival theories. This is why the A-level remains a secure foundation for study at university. McDonald's will not be providing the educational width or depth of A- levels because it appears its qualification will focus merely on skills useful to the firm.

Secondly, it is naive, almost wilfully blind, to use the words of Labour's sales merchants. This is not "liberalization". It is simply a step towards the wholesale privatisation of education that Gordon Brown longs for.

Which great educational theorist has advocated making education fit the needs of business above all else? Great minds from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill and Piaget all agreed that the purpose of education was to develop the person as fully as possible, and this would benefit politics, society and the economy by releasing intellect and creativity.

I hope the teaching unions see this as a spur for opposition to the Government that promised "education, education, education" and has given us cuts and privatisation.

John Westmoreland, Head of history, York College, York.

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