Future Proofing Education – Messages from the Tony Blair Report – Part 2 

In last week’s blog, we talked about recommendations from the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) on the scrapping of A levels and GCSEs in the UK to future proof education.

 

You can read that blog here.

 

The TBI Report- Ending the Big Squeeze on Skills: How to Future Proof Education in the UK – recommended that –

  • The A levels and GCSEs should be scrapped
  • There should be a radical change in English education to help education leavers to cope more in the real world.
  • A focus on the four Cs – critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving, communication and creativity
  • The need for continuous assessment rather than final exams

A levels and GCSEs are all accredited courses.

 

What is Accreditation?

Accreditations are courses that are not necessarily aligned to a national education system.  They are usually offered by organisations, regulators, professional bodies and quality organisations.

A lack of accreditation does not mean that a course is not good quality. Not all courses are. Accreditation is usually only important if it is essential to get ahead in a specific industry, such as medicine.  College Credibility matters more than accreditation.  

Changing Accredited Courses to Fit in With Global Needs

Blair’s report is therefore arguing that global qualifications, the GCSEs and A levels, are scrapped and changed to fit in with changing global needs.

This is interesting.

A few points -

  • To change accredited courses is far harder than changing non-accredited courses. A non-accredited course can be changed fairly quickly.  To change an accredited course, there will be a review, meetings, more reviews, more meetings, training staff and then passing these changes over to the students.
  • Elon Musk suggested six rules in relation to holding meetings. They should not be big. If you have nothing to contribute, you should leave. They should only be held if urgent or necessary and not for the sake of it. Accredited education providers could learn something from this. Are all these meetings and bureaucracy necessary?
  • We know it is important to carefully consider changes in education. What does the student need to know? How will we assess that knowledge? But that does not mean it should take years to change the course!
  • Changes are not always easy due to the bureaucracy involved around changing. As we saw this year in the UK, these changes do not happen easily. Due to the COVID-19 situation, students were told what subjects were going to be in their end of year exams. Unfortunately, for many students, other topics were included. Topics students hadn’t revised for.
  • Some students who had studied BTECs in the UK (a vocational alternative to GCSE and A levels) did not receive their results until days later. This meant that many lost university places they were hoping to receive.

Two points here –

  1. Accreditation is not necessary to ensure a course is good quality.
  2. Changing accredited courses can involve a lot of bureaucracy and time.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the GCSEs and A levels to be scrapped or changed to future proof the education of UK students.

These lessons do not just apply to the UK though. Throughout the world, there is often a focus on bureaucracy-heavy courses. Courses that are slow to change and unwieldy in the modern world. Think about our life and the changes that occur.

 

Changes

Technology

Technology changes so quickly. The first iPhone was released in 2007. Since then, a new version of iPhone has been released yearly.

If we train students to understand how to develop and program a 2007 iPhone, what are we actually teaching them?

Outdated and useless information.

We need to train students in 2022 technology.

Other industries

Changes do not just occur in technology. Think about the changes that have occurred in agriculture, for example. The move towards organic farming, sustainability, the increase in veganism and vegetarianism, the increasing need for plant based products.

Think about the motor industry, such as –

  • Driverless cars
  • Parking sensors through to self-parking cars
  • Improvements in satnavs

And more.

We need to train our students with knowledge that is useful TODAY, not six years ago or ten years ago.

This is where accredited courses can lag way behind non-accredited courses.

 

Accreditation?

Tony Blair’s report does not focus on accreditation, but it focusses on accredited courses – the GCSEs and A levels. He wants the UK to scrap A levels and GCSEs and future proof education, but then talks about doing so in another accredited and bureaucratic format.

Really?

  • We need to move away from accreditation and bureaucracy.
  • We need to move away from outdated and unwieldy courses.

We need to move towards –

  • Fast acting educational organisations who are able to change courses to suit industry and student needs quickly and efficiently.
  • Continuous assessment to ensure that students are continuing to learn and improve their knowledge, not just learning how to pass an exam or test.
  • Non-accredited courses

Is Accreditation Essential?

No!

Accreditation is not essential.

To futureproof education, we need to ensure that students –

  • Are studying courses that are up to date
  • Study courses taught by industry experts with real world experience
  • Study high quality courses. That does not mean accredited courses only.
  • Study courses that meet their needs and the needs of the industry they want to work in.

Lessons for Education Providers

What are the lessons here for education providers?

  • Consider the courses they offer. They need high quality up to date courses.
  • Do they need accredited courses to offer high quality courses? Of course not, non-accredited courses can be more up to date, high quality and useful for the student.
  • We need to move away from bureaucracy, meetings and fuss and move towards quick actions to meet the needs of students and industry.

Would you like to develop a business relationship with a fast-working and high quality course writer and developer?

ACS Distance Education keeps accreditation to a minimum.  We offer non-accredited, high quality courses to meet the needs of our students and employers.

We don’t want to offer courses tied up in bureaucracy. We want to be fast-acting –

  • Updating and improving existing high quality courses
  • Adding new high quality courses

We want to meet the needs of our students and the industries in which they work.

If you are –

  • Interested in setting up your own educational business working with a trail blazer like ACS
  • Or you already have an business and would like to expand and offer eBooks and courses.

Then please get in touch with us and find out more.



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