Are there too many graduates?

Ok - I know a lot of people will be throwing their hands up in horror but are we trying to put too many people through university?

I recently attended my son's GCSE options evening and learned about the new English Baccalaureate.  Students who receive an A* to C grade in English, Maths, at least two sciences, a foreign language and either history or geography will automatically be awarded the English Bacc. And why? Well no matter what the official line is, it will be another way for universities to filter through too many applications. And the reason that universities get too many applications is that the Government has this ridiculous notion that we need to send at least 50% of our young people to university. This apparently is so we can compete with China ( whose young people are doing degrees in maths/science/engineering).  The HRD in a recent post talked about today's youth being a beaten generation. I agree wholeheartedly with him when he says that everyone should have the right to a decent education - but it should be the right education - and university may not be the right route.

I am old enough ( unfortunately) to remember the old secondary modern system where those who were not academically slanted went on to undertake a highly valuable vocational education. As a country we have this obsession with sending a higher and higher proportion of our young people to university. And so we end up with high graduate unemployment, a two tier system where some degrees are valued by employers as more ‘worthy’ and no plumbers!!

My brother was not gifted academically as he will be the first to admit – luckily for him there was still a scheme called apprenticeships – he left school at 16 went on to qualify as an electrician and now runs his own business, providing employment to others, and therefore contributing to the economy! So basically he does exactly the same as I do.  I went to university - because that was the right route for me -we both got to the same destination - we just took a different route.

Education needs some joined up thinking

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