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Education vs Training - Cameron vs Brown

First prime ministerial debate - 15 April 2010 -Transcript

What will the party leaders do to improve education?

GORDON BROWN: I want to see our education improve as it has done over the last few
years. We need teachers with better qualifications. We need young
people with the aspiration to succeed, and we need to give people
the chance to start education early, that's why nursery education
starts at three and be able to go through to 18. That's what we are
saying in our manifesto, education will be part-time or full-time till
the age of 18. As far as grades and standards are concerned, I
myself believe in the highest of standards. I believe if we don't
search for the highest of standards, then we will not in the end get
the best pupils coming out of our schools. Yes, we've got to look at
the different types of exams and we will do so. But I think it's
important to realise we're in this new world where we are competing
with Asia, as well as America and Europe and our young people
have got to have the grades, the qualifications to be able to meet
the best in the world. That's what I want to achieve and I hope I can
work with you to do so.

DAVID CAMERON: I have every sympathy with what you say because education is
important, that, as well as getting good grades that actually we're
opening young people's minds to all the best things that have been
written and all the best things that have been said and to really
excite people about education....

Note the difference - Gordon is all about training up the worker drones, whereas Cameron, surprisingly or maybe not for an Etonian, recognises that education is more than that.
Will that translate into policy? I don't know but it was the most encouraging thing I have heard for while.


It's quite a significant difference.

Brown seems to forget that not all people can pass exams, well, they can if the grades are lowered, but that isn't what I mean. He's forgotten that the most poorly educated are not innately stupid and can achieve a lot if they want to learn about 'stuff', any sort of 'stuff' that catches their eye - general knowledge, and general interest, is what makes people interesting to talk to. Maybe he had it drilled into him that he 'had to' pass exams to make something of himself. (I sometimes wonder if he had quite a damaged childhood.) Everybody needs the most basic of skills to get by on the world, and our system is failing far too many, too many are spending 12 years at school and leaving without being fully (functionally) literate or numerate.

Even the dimmest of people knows when they're being hoodwinked by a system, and that's what's happening at the moment - more especially as they claimed to want 50% of school leavers to attend university. They said it was because graduates earned more and so they made lots more universities, then found it was all too expensive to keep going, so cut the funding.

Mrs Rigby,

The thing about universities is similar to this post by Tim Worstall.

Under the 'old' way of doing things University was not completely festooned with Mickey Mouse degrees. You could get a good quality education and it *would* help you earn more in the world of work. The Government changed the system but expected the results to stay the same. A vast flood of money (some as private debt on the shoulders of students) and a lowering of standards to attain an arbitrary target has undone some of the earnings advantage a degree brings.

The education system is badly short changing pupils. Some of the negative reaction to Cameron's Big Society of parents getting involved in what schools do and teach has surprised me. It hasn't been that it is a load of cobblers (which it largely is), it has been claims that parents are too busy to get involved in schooling at all. Perhaps that is why schools have become factories for climate and social propaganda in preference to science, history and skills needed for the wider world - fewer and fewer parents are taking an interest in what their children are being taught leaving the state to exploit lots of fertile tiny minds. Cameron's Big Society seems to be an admission that the system of School Governors and PTAs are not working.

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