Wrong answer

It is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the Institute of Director's analysis of what's wrong with British education. If this is representative of the intelligence that our captains of industry act upon, no wonder the markets are in freefall. Even the cranky English seems to have been copied from a Japanese instruction manual.

Low skills in the workforce are not a result of falling standards because educational achievements are rising, in line with increased social expectations. Employers complain because the better-qualified reject the routine jobs industry wants them to fill and opt instead for higher education in the hope of more fulfilling occupations.

In objecting to this, the IOD misses the logic of its own free-market, consumerist philosophy. If industry wants more intermediate engineers and computer technicians it should make those careers - and the routes into them - more attractive.

It cannot expect governments both to create more diversity and choice in education, and at the same time limit educational choices in order to channel young people into the jobs deemed most suitable for them by Britain's bosses.

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