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GCSE's to O-Levels

James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted RegularRegistered Posts: 281
Recently on BBC question time this topic was discussed while Ken Clarke was on the panel.

The jist is simply that qualifications are too easy or that they are losing their worth in the eyes of students.

As i have recently come out of education i'm curious what everyone's thoughts are on this topic.

Should O-Levels be reinstated?
Would you, if so how reform education at any stage?
Should apprenticeships be pushed forward rather than attending university?

Or any other thoughts on this topic in general.

Discuss...

Comments

  • MakkusuMakkusu Feels At Home BournemouthRegistered Posts: 94
    I'm an accountant not a politician, BUT.....

    I do think something is broken with this country and building a strong foundation for our future is imo where the solution lies i.e. education. Having passed my GCSE's many years ago whilst messing around and not attending classes I still managed decent grades. It's not a great measurement of young potential, ability and ambition... at all.

    So I agree something needs to be changed, all the entry requirements at the moment are too much of a blur, employers have hundreds of applicants with similar grades with nothing other than judgement of character to tell if they have decent potential or not. Making education more stringent and harder will allow easier definition of youngsters ability and perhaps put a bit of ambition back into the youngsters of the future. I personally think it'll make the child prodigies shine.

    As for apprenticeships, I think the way education is going University will be/should be for elite students (away with all those gimmick degrees that lead nowhere), and apprenticeships will be to push forward skills, trades & more vocational career paths.

    There is no true definition of ability in todays education. The only thing that makes me go 'wow' is if somebody has a good degree from Oxbridge, everything else any old chap could achieve if they used their brain.

    I mean at my school there were straight A* students who, at the moment in their mid 20's are working at Tesco behind a till.... that's not right.
  • James PattersonJames Patterson Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 281
    I agree with the points you made; i myself am only a part qualified accountant but with an interest in politics, possibly because i am part of the public likes complaining about everything possible due to english mentality.

    I didn't take much interest in GCSEs and achieved decent grades, and lost all motivation by the time i reached A-Levels so i started an accounting apprenticeship (here i am today).

    I am under the impression from personal experience that apprenticeships seem very beneficial especially in starting a career path and giving an insight into the real world in terms of working life. Standard educational qualifications as you said are becoming common and meaningless and don't really benefit you in any way other than a letter on your CV.

    But with my apprenticeship i earn a wage (not alot but still a wage) and i can learn a qualification which relates to what i do and what i aspire to do along with priceless experience. I can now work hard to excel in my career and to get where i want to be.

    Also with University costs becoming a bit of a farse in my eyes, it is also financially beneficial. I just feel like the educational system needs a reform with practicality, and with my apprenticeship giving me that, i can't see a reason why they shouldn't be pushed as a reasonable option rather than a fallback.
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Makkusu wrote: »
    The only thing that makes me go 'wow' is if somebody has a good degree from Oxbridge, everything else any old chap could achieve if they used their brain.

    I mean at my school there were straight A* students who, at the moment in their mid 20's are working at Tesco behind a till.... that's not right.

    Ref a degree from Oxbridge, while it (unfortunately) often does mean that person is going to walk straight into a great job, it doesn't naturally follow that they will be a success at it. We recently fired a narcissistic Cambridge Grad for being bloody useless at just about everything we threw at him and who committed gross misconduct in the end. I'm not entirely certain what a Cambridge degree in English Lit - while certainly an academic subject - does qualify you for employment-wise.

    Employment these days isn't just about qualifications alone: employers are adverse to risk in the current climate and are becoming less likely to take on highly educated but unskilled staff in favour of the less educated but highly experienced. In recessionary times, employers need people who "already can do" rather than take a risk on those that "potentially could but might not".

    I was one of the last years to take O' levels in the mid-80's and it was always the mainstream view that GCSE's were not a worthy replacement over the old O' level/CSE system. I only took eight subjects: that's the maximum the school curriculum allowed, so I could never understand why some 'kids' were leaving with fifteen or so GCSE's. Quantity over quality maybe? I also read last year that Oxford (I think) had judged a 2011 'A' pass at A' level was the equivalent of an 80's C grade. No dumbing down there then?

    I'm not saying today's students are less bright by any standards - after all, you can only take what's put in front of you - but GCSE's were becoming questionable only a couple of years after they were first introduced and I'm surprised they've lasted as long as they have.
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