The Government has launched a Pounds 10 million "new model" for General National Vocational Qualifications in an attempt to cut down on bureaucracy and increase their credibility among universities and employers, writes Phil Baty.
The changes, announced this week by higher education minister Lord Henley, are designed to answer criticisms raised by inspections from the Further Education Funding Council and the Office for Standards in Education.
The new system will mean fewer, but larger student coursework projects; simplified grade criteria; fewer, but more demanding exams; and a new, externally set vocational assignment. A simplified recording system is also expected to reduce work for teachers. The first of the new-type GNVQs should be available in September 1998.
"There were elements of the existing arrangements which could be streamlined and improved," said Lord Henley. The improvements would eventually make the level-three advanced GNVQ "as valid a means of getting into university as the A level".
Sir Ron Dearing said the changes "will make the qualification more manageable and increase the rigour of assessment. They are intended to do all those things in my recommendations."