3rd September 2010 at 01:00

Klatching at straws

Is it possible to have a department sectioned under the mental health act? FErret only asks after reading the latest attempt to make business pay lip service to learning.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills boasts that 64 businesses have signed up to its "cafe culture" movement promoting informal learning. Just as many more signed the Skills Pledge three years ago, promising to train staff to at least level 2 to little practical effect.

It's a dreadful name, too: presumably it's meant to evoke Voltaire and Rousseau trading bons mots, but it just made FErret fancy some cake.

John Hayes, the FE minister, should also beware, as Charles II said cafes are "places where the disaffected meet, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty and his Ministers".

Day of the JaCKal

Oops. The National Skills Academy was forced to take down its website last week after it was hacked by a pro-Palestinian hacker named JaCKal.

Its front page normally explains that it is a group of industry-specific bodies ranging from actual teaching institutions to vague networks that stretch the definition of "academy" to breaking point.

That was replaced by the mischievous online trouble-maker of a picture of a container ship with "Gaza" written on the side and the legend: "Virtual Protests will continue! Everything for PALESTINE! JaCKal Ownz Your System. I came challengeing to the world THE END."

FErret is forced to question whether bringing down the website of the most obscure parts of the UK education system constitutes "challengeing to the world".

Never mind. The swift creation of a National Skills Academy for IT should put paid to this nonsense. As long as we can have a National Skills Academy for Spelling, too.

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