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12:48pm on Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012:

A Question of Degree


Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has said that he wants universities to set A-levels.

So ... which universities?

The University of Somewhere wants to know if the prospective student has the spark to be educated; the University of Central Nowhere wants to know if the student has the industry to be trained. These are in direct opposition to one another.

At the moment, A-levels are probably acceptable to the University of Central Nowhere, so the University of Somewhere has been complaining about being unable to tell the cream of the crop from the merely hard-working. However, if the University of Somewhere got its way, thousands of prospective University of Central Nowhere students would choke on A-levels and be unable to attend any university at all, even though they (and society) would probably benefit from it.

Two possibilities suggest themselves as to why the Education Secretary has made this move. The first is that it could be part of a long-term plan to reduce the education budget by splitting higher education back into two sectors like it was in the days when half of today's universities were polytechnics. The second possibility is that the Education Secretary genuinely believes that all UK universities provide the same high level of education and that enabling them to set A-levels will force higher standards on schools to the ultimate benefit of us all.

Either way, oh dear oh dear...

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).