End degree prejudice

9th June 2000 at 01:00
READING Hansard on the recent Commons' debate on the future of the teaching profession, I was angered to read the Education Secretary's description of the current Bachelor of Education four-year education degree as a "sub-degree undergraduate course".

I can only say that this compounds the current discriminatory actions of Government towards teaching-trainees taking degrees in education. They are not entitled to the teacher-training salary scheme nor, unlike their colleagues taking a postgraduate certificate in education, are they entitled to have their tuition fees paid.

In that light, David Blunkett's comment only serves to add insult to injury.

BEd students gain a thorough experience of higher education which preares them for teaching. In addition, final year B.Ed students complete substantial, research-based projects on aspects of education. In short, BEd students leave with degrees comparable with that of other university degrees.

It can only be assumed that the Government considers that students who have been taught the history of education, as well as the practice of teaching, are somehow second best for schools.

I have written to Mr Blunkett urging him to restore parity in both word and deed for students whose commitments cannot be undermined, particularly given the crisis in teacher supply.

Doug McAvoy

General secretary

National Union of Teachers

Hamilton House

Mabledon Place, London WC1

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