CBI says get basics right before reforming qualifications

The CBI believes that key
weaknesses in the education system must be dealt with before radical reform of
the qualification structure is implemented.

In its response to the
interim report of the Tomlinson Working Group on 14-19 reform, published today,
the employers’ body said its greatest fear is that the introduction of a
diploma could divert attention from the essential tasks of improving numeracy
and literacy standards.

Vocational qualifications could
also miss out on the development work they need to become high quality and have
both relevance and appeal to young people, parents and employers, the CBI said.

CBI deputy Director-General,
John Cridland, said: "CBI members are passionate
about improving education. They are fully supportive of the Tomlinson Group
objective of improving attainment levels.

"But business is not yet
convinced that vital improvements to basic and key skills can be delivered at
the same time as radical reform of qualifications towards an overall diploma,”
he said. “We look to the government to demonstrate that both are possible.”

Recently, Ivan Lewis, secretary
of State for skills and vocational training, recently hit back at CBI
complaints, saying employers must ‘stop moaning and come to the table’ to help
prepare the next generation of workers.

For employers to be able to
support the final Tomlinson proposals, the CBI said they should pass six key
tests:

a
detailed evidence-based strategy for improving literacy and numeracy and
correcting under-performance

an
action plan for establishing high quality vocational provision

– demonstrate that a diploma
would offer extra value for the brightest young people

– show how the new
qualifications grading would offer clear benchmarks for recruiters

– prove beyond doubt that none
of the above aims could be achieved within the existing qualifications
framework, and

convincing
estimates of the resources necessary to implement the diploma.

By Michael
Millar
 

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