“Go to school, get good grades and you’ll get a good job”; this is the advice that many parents give their children and up until recently it seemed to make perfect sense. However the world has changed quite drastically. Job opportunities are few and far between, University fees are skyrocketing and a degree definitely doesn’t guarantee you a Job anymore. Recently the number of NEETS (young people not in education, employment or training) has reached a staggering 1.37m but with our current education system is it any wonder so many young people are no simply not interested in learning?
Last month Education watchdog, Ofsted described the UK education curriculum as “dull” and found that the teaching standards were not good enough in 40% of schools. The report states that; “Where teaching does not meet pupils’ needs or does not engage pupils sufficiently they can lose attention, demonstrate poor attitudes to learning and eventually interrupt the learning of others,”.
Some will argue that many Children are undisciplined and as such difficult to teach but numerous studies have found that a number of teachers within the school system are inadequate.
A test carried out for Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches in 2010 revealed that a “shocking” number of Primary School teachers were unable to complete even the most basic of mathematical functions. The test was completed by 155 Primary school teachers and just 40% of those were able to calculate how much 2.1% of 400 was.
In response, numerous teachers reasoned that at Primary school level; they may spend several spend years teaching at nursery level and so their mathematical skills can be expected to decline. Nonetheless this is still worrying.
For years, the failings of the school system have long been masked by steadily rising GCSE exam results but in recent years they been heavily criticised for being far too easy.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) believes that teachers focus primarily on getting students to pass tests rather than actually giving them a full understanding of subjects;
“The pressure on schools and teachers of the league tables has already led to too much teaching focusing on getting pupils through exams.”
This is evidenced by the number of UK employers who have reported that Young people lack basic Maths and English skills. A Survey of 1000 UK employers found that 50% believed that Young people needed to improve their literacy skills, 40% reported a lack of numeracy and communication skills.
According to the Labour Market Outlook report, which commissioned the survey employers believe that the school system “ isn’t fit for purpose” and as such just 12% plan to hire school leavers this year.
The lack of qualified young people is also said to have left employers looking to recruit foreign workers instead, thus leaving British youth with even fewer opportunities. Few people disagreed with Virgin Conglomerate founder Richard Branson when earlier this week he claimed that a new generation of entrepreneurs were essential to the future of Britain but it doesn’t seem as the school system is producing very many.
It’s graduates can generally be divided into two categories; those can only function as cogs of the economic system and those who are disillusioned and frustrated with the education as a whole.
While the failing of the school system are evident, responsibility ultimately resides with parents and guardians. We owe it to our children to ensure that they get the education they need to fulfil their vast potential and if the Government aren’t willing to create such a system then why can’t do it ourselves? Imagine if Communities worked together to educate their children and instil them not only with academic but with the attitude and character that would enable to become successful.
The Lost generation or NEETS are results a dying system and perhaps if we took responsibility for our own system, we could create a brighter future for the upcoming generations.