Thursday, April 17, 2008


"The" Diploma

Today's Guardian clued me in to the fact that British education is about to get yet another overhaul with the introduction of The Diploma.

First of all, let me say that I'm not a fan of The Name. "The Diploma" puts me in the mind of gothic sci-fi films, where the whole planet is controlled by a company called The Company, or whatever.

What's more, the article relates the grave misgivings of one Jerry Jarvis (managing director of Edexcel, which is The Organisation, don'tcher know):

The head of one of the UK's leading exam boards warns today that up to 40,000 students could be left with "worthless" qualifications unless flaws in the government's flagship diploma course are urgently corrected.

Setting out wide-ranging concerns in an interview with the Guardian, Jerry Jarvis, managing director of Edexcel, said the new diploma system "risks failure" when it is introduced into schools this September.

Does this remind anyone of the GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification, aka. Going Nowhere Very Quickly)?

I don't personally see the need for a qualification which falls halfway between being academic and being vocational. If you're going to get a job out of school, do a straight vocational course (eg. BTEC); if you're going to uni, do A levels (unless you're planning to do something vocational at uni, in which case... oh sod it, whatever.)

Rant, spleen. Maybe I just don't like change: A levels look like they'll be on the way out over the next couple of years, another piece of my youth cast into the void of eternity: that "A" in English Lit that I worked so hard for, and that "A" in Politics that I just randomly got.

...That "B" in General Studies, which might have been an "A" had I not simply put down "C" as the answer for every single question in the Foreign Language section, not trusting my rusty French...


Further reading
The Gruaniad article
What is The Diploma and where does it live?
GNVQ graduates page

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