Friday, 30 March 2007

The Knowledge Economy

Academics call time on 'illiterate' students

Britain, we're told, is going to replace its manufacturing economy with finance (moving money from one account to another and skimming a percentage off the top) and our glorious new 'knowledge economy' where 50% of kids go to university and get a degree.

But there's a problem.

Lecturers at some of the new universities are calling for a public debate on standards because they say functionally illiterate students are being passed so they do not drop out of courses.

Now, let's get this right. They've spent nearly fifteen years in school, but at the end they're functionally illiterate. If schools can't teach people to be literate in more than a decade of schooling, what the hell are they doing?

But it gets worse. These aren't just any students, these are among the 50% of students whose grades are high enough to get a place at a university.

And they're functionally illiterate.

What does that say about the 50% whose grades are too low?

But it gets worse.

Lecturers at Bournemouth and Teesside universities have complained that their fail grades were reversed to enable students to stay on.

So these students are functionally illiterate, and their work is being marked accordingly. But instead of failing the course, their grades are being increased so they pass!

At least if they failed they might have an incentive to learn how to read and write. Passing them merely serves to further devalue the university's degrees as they graduate illiterate students who will have no hope in the real world.

But this is where the real world conflicts with the government's policy of pushing 50% of kids into university and making them pay for it. These kids have paid thousands of pounds for their course... what are they going to do if they don't get a degree at the end of it?

Thanks to Labour, the whole British schooling system is a failure from top to bottom. Kids are coming out of school with decent grades even though they're illiterate. That is bad enough in itself, but now illiteracy is no longer considered to disqualify them from receiving their degree.

The end result of grade inflation and 'everyone must pass' grading is that many recent graduates are dumb as rocks. And this is the basis for a 'knowledge economy'?

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