The TES is reporting claims that employer groups such as the CBI should be “attacked” for calling for young people to be “work ready” by the time they leave school.
Tim Oates, director of research at exam group Cambridge Assessment, warned against business leaders using their influence to make “absurd” claims about how education should work in this country.
“The notion that kids should be ‘work ready’ from school, and the constant champing of the CBI of this absurd proposition really needs to be attacked by all of us,” Mr Oates said.
And he added: “It is an absurd attack on the function of general education, it puts education in quite the wrong role, and it puts unnatural expectations on young people.”
Mr Oates was speaking at a joint seminar of the Business, Innovation and Skills and Education select committees in Westminster…
Mr Oates’ claims led Rod Bristow, president of core markets at Pearson, to challenge Mr Oates from the audience, stating that the CBI was more concerned about “general skills” possessed by young people.
“Rather than sector-specific skills, the CBI wants harder-edge skills such as numeracy and literacy. But it also wants the softer skills, like leadership, communication and, increasingly, character traits such as humility, integrity etc,” Mr Bristow said.
“Tim may dismiss them, but if you read what employers are asking for it’s that, and so too are students and parents…”
Tim Oates is very dismissive of the calls from employers for the kinds of skills they feel young people need, but is he right to be?
Do we not increase the life chances of young people if we are able to align their development with employment opportunities?
And who exactly should we listen to when deciding the priorities for education?
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