March 24, 2012

Uncertain where a tertiary qualification in Anthropology might take you? This month, the Interim Report examining qualifications available for childcare and early years education was released by the Ministry of Education.

The team, headed by Sheffield University’s Prof. Cathy Nutbrown, has been set up by Children and Family Minister, Sarah Teather, to examine the form and content of qualifications and training provided for this sector. 

Contributor, OUAMEAS Chair Dr Helen Carr, said “There are concerns that weaker students and those on lower incomes who are eligible for financial assistance, seem to be especially vulnerable to aggressive marketing and advertising techniques, finding themselves in debt obtaining qualifications that do not equip them for this industry and sector (if any employment beyond minimum wage activities). The worry is that HE qualification providers seem to be particularly adept at exploiting those students from families with no history of tertiary education and who do not have the experience or critical skills to evaluate promotional material.”  Employers have expressed concern that success in obtaining many of these qualifications does not test or even require basic competence in the English language or maths.

Complaints policy and procedure will also be examined amidst concerns that increasingly procedures for staff and students alike have become lengthy and difficult to access, and from the students’ perspective, require the sort of business acumen and literacy skills many lack (and indeed, attend tertiary education in the belief they will acquire).

Dr Carr said “Education as a commodity is now a harsh reality. As a currency, any government must protect the qualifications awarded in its name if the ‘no win-no fee’ culture is not to drain the sector of resources.” 

(Copyright 2012, OUAMEAS. All rights reserved.)
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