The rhetoric of the Dearing report cannot be faulted. Its vision statement reads like a religious tract. But what if you don't believe?
Do people really want to spend their lives learning? What about enjoyment?Young people are not interested in lifelong learning; they are interested in financial security. For those who do not inherit money or win the National Lottery that means education for jobs, or rather education for qualifications that give access to jobs. Most young people enter higher education because they have no alternative but to get a qualification. It is the reduced availability of jobs, not a desire for further education per se, that has fuelled the expansion of education post-16. It has become virtually impossible to question the value of ever more investment in education. Yet the economy is outperforming those very competitors whose policies we have been urged to emulate. There is no reason to assume the proposed changes will give our economy any advantages. All we can say is that the more young people who continue with post-compulsory education the fewer there will be claiming benefits.
Bryan R. Chapman
Ilkley, West Yorkshire