image credit Larimdame
I read with interest, the other day, that some high profile companies, namely: McDonalds; FlyBe and Network Rail have been accredited to offer 'qualifications' that support A Levels or diplomas. Whilst I think we can rest assured these companies have good training schemes for their employees, or new recruits; a training scheme is not the same as an opportunity to study. I would also like to know:
- Who are the main beneficiaries of the 'qualification'; the company, or the student's life chances.
- Will the skills on offer really be transferable? Either to a competing business or to other jobs. How many would want McDonalds 'written' on their certificates?
- Some of McDonalds other dubious educational ventures.
- Network Rail's poor track record.
- What was the process that approved these companies to become qualification awarding bodies? Was there a tender or bidding process? Was this debated/announced publicly, or a deal done behind closed doors?
- What about small enterprises and innovators, could they become part of this initiative?
No matter how you dress it up; when commercial companies are allowed to award qualifications; by default they will serve their own interests first, which is likely to be (and arguably rightly), making a profit. And lets not forget, even big companies are at the mercy of market forces.
Now if companies and organisations such as Google, Lucasfilms or the BBC, were involved would that change how we view such schemes? Or is it time to seriously consider removing the running of education from both government and business, sure they can fund and advise, but lets have a body whose commitment is firmly based on learning and providing real educational opportunities for all, not serving political masters or specific business interests.