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Samizdata quote of the day

We need these government training schemes to produce skilled workers, they have not learnt any meaningful skills in, er, government schools

- Samizdata commenter Mr. Ed

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    “Training Scheme” is a catchall term when used by the government, and it frequently has almost nothing to do with what you or I would call a training scheme.

    I don’t know if they still do this, but a few years ago when I was last unemployed they placed me on the New Deal “training scheme” after 6 months on Job Seekers Allowance. I still had to sign on. I still had to look for work. I didn’t have to go on any courses (although to be fair some were on offer). But critically I think, I no longer counted in the unemployment stats because I was now “in training”.

  • Mr Ed

    The Employment Tribunals that are Great Britain’s Labour Courts had their genesis as ‘Industrial Tribunals’ which were set up to hear appeals by manufacturing firms in certain industries against Industrial Training Levies under the Industrial Training Act 1964. The government taxed industries to provide for training, and an appeal against an assessment would go to an industrial tribunal, with a lawyer, a manager and a Trade Union representative. Mussolini smiled at this nod to fascism from the infernal lamp post where he dangles for eternity over the hottest flames of Hell.

    Then came the right to redundancy pay in 1965, and the Industrial Tribunals were given the function of hearing claims for redundancy pay. Ted Heath added Unfair Dismissal in the 1970s, then came discrimination law in the mid-1970s, expanded to disability discrimination in 1995 and so on. It’s amazing how one little bureaucratic function can grow.

  • Jim

    My friend is a teacher, at a below average comp in a below average town, ie provides virtually no education at all. He and his fellow teachers are bricking themselves, because next summer the new GCSEs kick in, with all end of year exams, and no coursework. Which means the teachers can’t ‘assist’ their pupils get a pass any more, and A-C grade rates will fall through the floor. He freely admits that they all fiddle the coursework elements so that pupils who hand in work that should be failed get another chance to re-do it, and boost their grades. He was telling me the other day about one kid who had an assignment to write about the correct dietary requirements for a boxer (its ‘sports science’) who handed in several A4 printed pages obviously just printed off the internet. So far, so good, just a bit of plagiarism, goes with the territory. Unfortunately the pupil had paid so little attention to his internet searching that the website in question was all about dogs……………apparently Mike Tyson should have eaten more dry kibble.

    Suffice it to say said pupil still got a ‘pass’.

  • Mr Ed

    Jim, surely the question was ambiguous? They might have thought that the sport was dog fighting. Top marks for keeping a straight face? Now we can see why Mr Gove might not be so popular.

    I remember a fellow student at Uni copying out a friend’s tutorial question so faithfully that he wrote his friend’s name on it rather than his own, and only realised as he was handing it in, snatching it back and hurriedly amending it. He did alright in the end.

    I also recall around 1991 a trainee teacher telling me that she had asked a group of 8 year olds to rewrite fairy tales in modern-day settings, and one child came back with ‘Terminator and the Three Bears’ with graphic accounts of the violence akin to the film original. At least they could write and convey a message.

  • Ljh

    Ah! But think of the employment oppportunities for duff graduates with third class degrees from duff institutions : they will be the ones kept out of the unemployment stats. Training the officially untrained is a byproduct and its success not critical.

  • Richard Thomas

    Jim, that sounds like the kind of thing I would have done for a lark at school (minus the plagiarism). I was also one for turning story titles into bad pun versions and avoiding the intended topic altogether.

    I can possibly one-up Me Ed’s story also. When I was a postgrad marking labs, I received one which merely had the original name (written in pencil) erased and the cheater’s name written over the top. The original name was still quite visible beneath. If you’re going to cheat, at least do it properly.

    My own failed cheating story involved engraving several equations with a pin very lightly into the plastic of my calculator. The process of copying them thusly rendered the equations firmly into my memory and the cheat became redundant.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Mr Ed.

    The position is – “government has failed – therefore government needs to be bigger”.

    The failure of government schools is being used (yet again) as a justification for government training schemes.

    And, yes Jim, the end of the “course work” scam will expose just how bad the situation is – sadly “the Conservatives” will get the blame for the “fall in education standards”, which will really just be the exposure of how low educational standards are.

  • NickM

    I don’t have a problem with course work per-se. I do with a generalised dumbing down and things like the idea that “science” is a subject. No it bloody isn’t! Physics, Chemistry and Biology are. I’ve got A-Levels (’92) in all three and degrees in Physics and Astrophysics but the current GCSE “science” papers I can’t do. The questions are meaningless beyond belief. And also I learned vastly more at Nottingham and Queen’s London than I did at years of busking it at school where the tyranny of the LCD reigned. And that was just the teachers.

    Dear sweet Jesus. I was taught RE by an atheist who merely stuck on videos about the Turin Shroud. I was taught maths by retired PE teachers who required a kick up the hypotenuse. For chem I had a deranged harridan and for physics a pervert.

    And do not start me Sid Chaplin’s story “The Berry Holly”.

  • NickM

    By which I mean “Queen Mary College”.

  • Jim

    @Richard Thomas: sadly such a degree of independent thought (and the intelligence to pull it off) are entirely lacking in the students my friend teaches. My friends story was not a case of ‘I can make fun of my teacher’s poorly worded assignment’, more ‘I’ll type some words into Google and print out the first thing I find without checking it’.

    Talking to my teacher friend about his work is utterly depressing. The kids he minds (he describes himself as a glorified child minder rather than a teacher) will in a few years be having kids of their own, and he’ll be minding them. And the new parents will provide even less support to the schools than the current ones do now (which is zero in 75% of the cases). And the whole downward cycle will continue, until the nations intellect is equal to that of a lump of putty.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    ‘I’ll type some words into Google and print out the first thing I find without checking it’.

    Ah, a journalism major, then.

  • Vinegar Joe

    Jim: “And the whole downward cycle will continue, until the nations intellect is equal to that of a lump of putty.”

    Woo-Hoo! So long as we can see more of Simon Cowell and Kim Kardashian on the telly, who cares?

  • Jim

    @Vinegar Joe: exactly right. My housekeeper was wittering on the other day about how excited she was that X Factor was starting again. Her entire week was geared up to be in front of the TV at 8pm on Saturday (or whenever it starts, I haven’t a clue) to watch it. And this is the same woman who asked me the other day ‘Where’s Syria, and whats going on there at the moment?’.

    I despair.

  • Mr Ed

    @ Jim It must be very odd to live one’s life in a constant haze of bafflement, not knowing where Syria is or what is going on there, not understanding the course of events on the news. Do people ever stop to look around them to wonder how everything got there and what keeps it there? Do any such thoughts surface, only to be quickly suppressed?

    Would such a person in England ever look at an orange and wonder how it go to them? An adult life with the comprehension of a child, but without the questioning habit, perhaps to such a person liberty would be as vague a concept as sunshine to a mole.