Bridge across the great divide

25th February 2005 at 00:00
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is right to want to end the "snobbish" vocational and academic divide. Exam reform alone won't do this. It requires a change of culture and values - in industry and commerce as well as in homes and schools (and in Government, it seems). How many teenagers would be quite so keen to run up substantial personal debts in pursuit of esoteric degrees if employers really valued vocational qualifications when recruiting and promoting staff or setting salaries?

What kind of exam system best promotes such a change? One which replicates that divide? Or one which embraces all forms of skills, knowledge and understanding? And why should schools and colleges now concern themselves about strategic skills when the Government caves in to what it sees as popular demand?

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