Skip to content
The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

Tertiary Education for the 21st Century: the who, the what and the how – By Mary Curnock Cook

  • 14 December 2023
  • By Mary Curnock Cook

On Wednesday, 10 January 2024, HEPI and Advance HE will be hosting a webinar on tertiary education from 10am to 11.15am – for more details, click here.

Thank you all for coming to hear my talk about Tertiary Education for the 21st Century.  I confess that as I have prepared for this talk, I’ve changed my mind multiple times about how to tackle this topic.  And I realised that I’d set myself quite a daunting challenge!  Sometimes it feels as if never a day goes by without some new insight, some new report, some new data that is relevant to Tertiary Education.

I should also add from Stephanie’s introduction that I am neither an educator nor an academic.  I think of education as a system – actually a delicately balanced ecosystem with intricate interdependencies and co-dependencies.  And my expertise, such as it is, comes from years of thinking about qualifications, their currency for progression, who takes them, who doesn’t, and how they interact to support the success of individuals, of society and the economy. 

But let’s at least try to start on some common ground about what we all mean by Tertiary Education.  In England tertiary education generally aligns with the global term ‘higher education’ – so post 18 or post- secondary education and training.  I mention that because in Wales, the term refers to post-16 education and training.  And then just recently, David Hughes, the Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges called for “a single tertiary system of post-16 education”.

I’d suggest that it doesn’t much matter whether you think Tertiary Education starts at 16 or at 18.  The reality is that post 16, post 18 or even adult education can never exist in a policy silo.  So, my talk is really about how do we get more people getting educated, trained, and qualified to a higher level in order to meet the skills needs of the 21st Century.  That means getting more young people getting good Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications before they leave education, and more then of those people progressing on to Levels 4, 5 and 6 and further. 

My subtitle is ‘the who, the what and the how’.  I want to set out some thinking about the pathways to Tertiary Education that dictate who does and who does not participate; what tertiary education needs to deliver for the 21st Century; and what new approaches could change the dial for participation and progression to higher level learning and training.

But let’s go back a step and look at the pathways into Tertiary education. 

The easy bit to define is what I call the education superhighway.  This is the well paved, well maintained, fast lane from good GCSEs to A levels and then on to university.  Those travelling this route don’t need much help with directions – perhaps just a bit of guidance about which branch of the highway network to get on to by choosing relevant subjects at A level and which courses to pursue at university.  About 178,000 English school leavers – over half of all school leaver acceptances to higher education – follow this route.   

Then there are all the slip roads, the alternative routes – there are loads of them – many are still under construction, have diversions and even a few roadblocks in place.  And the sat-nav is not good at picking the routes through, so students often have little guidance.  Some will stumble back onto the superhighway; others will hit a dead end.  Some will find a good destination without really knowing that that’s where they were headed in the first place.  

These are students who often get less than stellar GCSEs, perhaps needing to re-sit their maths and English – not sure if they are on a route to level 3 qualifications or stuck in some kind of liminal space between Level 2 and Level 3.  They might be taking BTECs or apprenticeships; a few might be mixing BTECs with A levels.  Still fewer have been guinea pigs for the new T levels.  For all these students, their routes to Tertiary education are much less clear.

Some typical roadblocks are finding that, on their own, BTECs or Cambridge Technicals might limit access to top tier universities and narrow course options.  T levels, designed as a route to specific occupations, have only limited progression utility and then only for courses that closely match the T level pathway chosen – for example construction or hospitality.   Others might start an apprenticeship with an employer only to find that the job doesn’t suit them – or indeed that they don’t suit their employer – sending them back to the drawing board.  Or they might complete an apprenticeship only to find that that’s it – many people treat an apprenticeship as an end in itself rather than a rung on the ladder to further learning and training at the next level.  

For nearly 70,000 school and college leavers, BTECs or Cambridge technicals, or a mix of either of these with one or more A levels takes them successfully on to university.  This route, while it often excludes the most selective university courses, has in recent years become relatively well-paved.  

It particularly supports students from less affluent backgrounds, from ethnic minorities and generally those who have more modest results at GCSE.  Students who perhaps struggled with the predominantly academic curriculum in Key Stage 4 but then found they were able to flourish with a more applied or vocational approach.

Unfortunately, this increasingly secure route to Tertiary education has recently been ripped up.  Any of the popular BTECs and Cambridge Technicals which overlap with new T levels are due to be defunded leaving a large cohort of students, who were really very successful on this well paved dual carriageway, supposedly pointed back to a superhighway via T levels. T levels which they feel ill-equipped or reluctant to pursue and which in any case are not yet really safe to drive on the superhighway.

Then, even more recently, the superhighway itself has been slated for re-building through the government’s proposal to replace it with the Advanced British Standard or ABS.  Even though A levels won’t be much disrupted while this new route is mapped, the wobbling T levels are getting stuck on the hard shoulder.  Hopefully, this means that ministers will need to rethink the BTEC defunding policy.

the wobbling T levels are getting stuck on the hard shoulder.  Hopefully, this means that ministers will need to rethink the BTEC defunding policy

And although it’s a pity to see the hundreds of millions of pounds already spent on developing T levels potentially wasted, it does provide an opportunity to reflect on what we don’t want and need for students who we want to see engaged, motivated and raring to go on climbing the ladder of opportunity.

  1. First, asking students to take a quite binary decision to follow an academic or technical curriculum at the tender age of 16 is not likely to create parity of esteem for more vocational routes. And this has been recognised in the early high level vision for the Advanced British Standard which aims to mix academic and applied subjects.  
  2. Secondly, asking sixteen year olds, who have followed a largely academic curriculum previously, to choose a single occupational area and to put all their effort into one topic like Engineering or business or construction is bound to lead to too many students regretting their choices.  After all, over 40% of university students say that they might have made a different choice in hindsight.
  3. Thirdly, why would you build a new technical qualifications offer based on pen and paper assessment?  Surely creating new qualifications such as T levels was the opportunity to use the vast potential of technology to build new assessment approaches that are more authentic, more engaging, and probably better able to differentiate ability.
  4. Lastly, if you want to motivate and attract students to so-called technical specialisms, why would you re-tread the same subjects that are already well-served by trusted qualifications like BTECs?  For example, why on earth do we need a new ‘technical’ qualification in Hair and Beauty?  To my knowledge, there is no particular shortage of hairdressers and hair technicians, and this is not a sector with any market failure.  We can all get our hair done whenever we want to and are generally pleased with the outcome.

I would have liked to see some genuinely new technical subjects in the T level stable – for example e-commerce, cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence, or supply chain and logistics which became so painfully under scrutiny during the pandemic.   But no, the waves of T level development have been working through the sector subjects which were defined way back in the mid-noughties when the Tomlinson Review was underway.  Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, health and social care and so on.  

Meanwhile, ministers are keen to decry the value of a university education frequently calling out so called ‘low value courses’, and repeatedly urging people instead to consider apprenticeships, and sub-degree level training at Level 4 and Level 5 – what we all used to know as HNCs and HNDs.  Instead, they’ve created a new language around ‘technical qualifications’ and now want to badge Level 4 and 5 qualifications as ‘Higher Technical Qualifications’ or HTQs.  

Some but not all HNDs and HNCs are also HTQs; some professional qualifications such as for accountancy or HR are badged HTQs and some are not. Some apprenticeships come with a qualification that might be an HTQ – some don’t include a qualification at all.  Confused?  I am, and I’m supposed to know about all this stuff!

Ministers frequently sing the praises of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and they have been successful in creating demand for these programmes.  Unfortunately, not enough employers are offering the apprenticeships – often finding the bureaucracy too burdensome and preferring just to treat the apprenticeship levy as a business tax to be written off with a sigh.

They’ve even started advocating for some shortcuts via so-called ‘Bootcamps’. It seems bizarre for the government to support essentially non-accredited, non-regulated, non-credit-bearing short courses in order to fill skills gaps.

This blizzard of acronyms and new qualifications also ignores the power of brands in education and training.   Students – and their parents – are rightly conservative when they make a choice to invest their time and money in studying.  They want qualifications which have currency for progression to further learning and/or employment.  One of the reasons that A levels and GCSEs have endured over decades is that they enjoy remarkably high levels of public understanding and trust having been taken and certificated hundreds of millions of times.  Remember the outcry from students when they were denied the opportunity to take their exams during the pandemic?

Employers and the public understand the level, the volume and the grades associated with these familiar qualifications.  That counts for a lot.  New qualifications initiatives take a long time to bed in and develop that level of familiarity and public trust.  BTEC is probably the only other big brand that is gaining that level of acceptance – and of course university degrees.  

Despite successive administrations trying to rationalise qualifications, the funded qualifications pathways that exist off the superhighway remain incoherent, only partially built, and weakly branded. 

They are part of a fragmented funding and regulation landscape that variously includes the Office for Students, Ofqual, Ofsted, the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the Student Loans Company and no doubt a few others that I’ve forgotten.  

Not only is this difficult for students to navigate, but it is also nearly impossible for providers to get behind.  Philip Augar in his review, government ministers and White Papers, all call for a joined up approach to Tertiary Education – in particular through greater collaboration between higher education providers and further education providers.  But the labyrinthine institutional infrastructure and the different governance models between universities and colleges makes that very hard to do in practice.

The Dyson Institute which is the Dyson engineering company’s in-house higher education provider, and which I chair, offers a BEng as part of a Level 6 Product Design and Development Engineer degree apprenticeship.  We report to the Office for Students as part of our probationary degree awarding powers, and also to Ofsted who are due to inspect our apprenticeship provision at any time.  The official guidance about the relationship between these two quality regimes is opaque and circular.

To quote from the apprenticeship accountability statements:

  • “[Ofsted is responsible for] sharing relevant information with the OfS to inform its regulation of providers on the OfS’s register” and then:
  • [The OfS is responsible for] assessing and monitoring quality and standards ……including for their apprenticeship provision at level 4 and above – the OfS will share relevant information obtained through its monitoring activities with Ofsted to inform its inspection of apprenticeship training delivered by OfS-registered providers”.

The reality is that at the Dyson Institute we simply maintain two separate workstreams to keep track of compliance with two regulators who obviously don’tshare relevant information effectively with each other!


These ‘technical qualifications’ and apprenticeships may look incoherent to the casual observer but they do have one thing in common.  They are all required to be based on National Occupational Standards – or NOS.

I first came across NOS in the late 80s when they were used to underpin National Vocational Qualifications – or NVQs – remember them? They are supposed to define the skills and knowledge requirements for specific occupations and job roles.  There are some 23,000 NOS listed in the data base clustered into 900 occupational areas.  They are curated by Sector Standards Organisations, must be approved by each of the four nations of the UK, developed in consultation with employers, users, stakeholders, and approved against a set of standards for the standards.  Many are out of date.

I mentioned the Level 6 Product Design and Development Engineer apprenticeship standard that we use at the Dyson Institute.  The National Occupational Standards underpinning this programme have not been updated since 2014 although I believe it is being reviewed at present – a mere ten years later. 

New NOS often take several years to develop and get approved. Once approved, awarding organisations build qualifications – again a a process that might take a year or two.  By the time the rubber hits the tarmac, and students are actually studying for a technical qualification, the standards on which they were built might be several years out of date.  

The smarter way to develop standards is through digital scraping of job adverts and job descriptions to build a picture of skills based on real-time data.   

So, from clunky outdated National Occupational Standards which are the basis for technical qualifications and apprenticeships, to expensive new technical qualifications in hair and beauty and the like, and a fragmented regulatory and funding infrastructure, it feels to me that the clearly urgent task of building 21stcentury skills in this country is being based on 20th century thinking.  

This is not a basis for building a Tertiary Education system that prepares people for the fast moving technological age in which they will be working.  

So, what would be needed to deliver a coherent Tertiary Education offer for the 21st Century?

Undoubtedly, we need a diverse tertiary offer to suit different learners for different reasons and at different stages in their lives and careers.  To do this, we also need some coherent pathways from compulsory education to tertiary education.  As we have discussed earlier, setting everyone on a single academic path up to age 16 has worked very well in getting a large proportion of young people on a coherent academic path (that is – A levels) post 16.  But if we want to encourage more diversity of tertiary education to develop skills for a 21st Century economy, we do need to start laying the foundations earlier.

We may scoff at the government’s proposal for the Advanced British Standard on the basis that it will never happen, and we’ll probably have a labour government by this time next year.  But if you read the outline proposals, they actually make quite a lot of sense.  They call for a broader post-16 curriculum and move away from the stark bifurcation that current policy proposes – namely that a post 16 student must choose between an academic A level or technical T level curriculum.  

Instead, the ABS envisages mixing academic and technical or vocational learning across three ‘major’ subjects and two ‘minors’ – which should include some English and Mathematics or perhaps more broadly some literacy and numeracy. It envisages extra teaching and learning time – in other words a slightly larger curriculum post-16.

There are some big wins in this approach.  First, the breaking down of the divide between academic and vocational or technical education.  Second, it forces a conversation about what post 16 mathematics and English could look like – so badly needed when the current approach of getting students simply to re-sit their GCSEs over and again is clearly not working well enough.  GCSEs have served young people well for years, but they were designed for school age pupils and may be less suitable for young adults with their working lives in closer sight.   

Importantly it opens a discussion about what we mean by ‘mathematics’ and what kind of maths will both engage students by making them feel that they are learning something worthwhile and equip them for their future working lives.  Too many young people are falling prey to our widely acknowledged national allergy to mathematics simply because they fail to see the relevance of what they are being taught.  

Learners’ ability in Maths can range from struggling to excelling and many points between – even to the extent of excelling in some branches and struggling in others.  And moving away from the do-or-die Grade 4 Maths GCSE hurdle could provide much better options for delivering confident numeracy, and maths with purpose – mathematics options like computational literacy or data science, for example.  

Or if Mathematics were to meet students where they are – offering a graded option – a bit like music exams.  Nobody thinks you’ve failed if you get Grade 2 piano at any age – the question is whether you will go on to Grade 3 and further.  I’ve long felt that graded maths pathways would be much more inclusive for all learners.

Now, it would be easy to disengage with consultations and conversations about the ABS because we know that Labour is calling for a more comprehensive review of curriculum and assessment from age 14 not just post-16.  But I would caution against this and urge full engagement with the ABS work – not just because a lot could change in the political landscape over the next year, but also because in-depth consideration about what young people should learn, be taught and how they should be assessed post-16 will inevitably throw up questions about the scaffolding curriculum that takes place in Key Stage 4.  

My view is that serious, in-depth work on the post-16 curriculum now will not be wasted whatever the outcome of a general election might be next year.  

in-depth work on the post-16 curriculum now will not be wasted whatever the outcome of a general election might be next year

Whether you think Tertiary education starts at 16 or at 18 – Key stage 4 and 5 curriculum and assessment provide the foundations for successful progression to higher level education and training.  In short, we need more people doing well at GCSE equivalent level in order for more people to progress to Level 3 education and training and then on to Levels 4, 5 and 6. 

Research commissioned by the government itself suggests that demand for graduates and postgraduates will have nearly doubled between 2015 and 2035, while demand for those with GCSEs only will contract by nearly a quarter.

We simply cannot plan adequate Tertiary education offers if the rungs on the ladder below are missing. 


So, if in the next ten years we can get a really exciting, challenging, modern, and relevant curriculum offer for post-16 education and lots of eager people equipped with meaningful Level 3 qualifications waiting to progress on to the next stage, what do we do next in our putative Tertiary Education offer?  

What do students want – what should be available? What incentives are there to continue gaining knowledge and skills at a higher level? And to what extent are the skills needed changing as technology advances and society changes?

LinkedIn data suggest there has been a 25% shift in skill sets for jobs since 2015.  And they expect this to double by 2027.  That means that your job is changing even if you’re not changing jobs.  And business demands are changing even if you’re not changing your business.

Gartner estimates that the average number of skills required for a single job has increased by 10% annually since 2017.  

  • It took 75 years for 100million people to adopt the telephone.  
  • Then it took 16 years for 100m people to adopt mobile telephones.  
  • But it took just two months for 100m people to adopt ChatGPT.

As a former IBM and Boeing Chief Learning Officer said recently: “Employers are having to reinvent their talent and learning ecosystem to enable employees to learn-unlearn-relearn constantly”.

And attitudes to work and careers are changing.  Fewer Gen Z-ers see their work as a significant part of their identity.  People want clear social purpose in their working lives and search for meaningful links to green and equality agendas for example.  More young professionals are working for themselves, undertaking project work, fractional contracts and perhaps incubating a side-hustle as well. 

Increasingly we see a world where rigid job structures are replaced by more agile, flexible environments.  Already in the US, 35% of workers are working from home five days a week.

The realisation that skills demand is constantly changing has been amplified recently in light of the big surprise that ChatGPT and other generative AI tools dropped on us all about a year ago.  Suddenly AI is in the spotlight both for the benefits and the risks it holds for education and training.  Perhaps more importantly, though, everyone is concerned about the changes that will be wrought on skills demand and supply as automation of tasks and processes changes the picture.  

How much of this should be linked to regions, locality, or even hyper-locality? Pearson, – I chair their UK qualifications business – has recently published a Skills Map of England.  This usefully breaks down by region the sectors where jobs are ‘growing or going’, as they put it, providing a useful picture of skills demand changes.  

But while it maps, for example, big increases in demand for IT related skills in the West Midlands or declining wholesale and retail roles in Yorkshire and Humberside, the top trending skills employers say they want in most regions are the more genericskills such as problem solving or communication – what you might think of as skills that are sector-neutral.  

I chair the Strategic Advisory Board for a major piece of research being carried out by NfER and funded by the Nuffield Foundation called Skills Imperative 2035.  The early outputs from the research suggest that, broadly, in most occupations, the essential skills required remain very similar to today but will be even more essential – and needed at a higher level – by 2035.  These essential skills will be familiar to everyone listening today.

They are:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Information literacy – that is, skills related to gathering, processing, and using information
  • Organising, planning and prioritising work
  • Problem-solving and decision making  

Employers have been emphasising these skills – or more often the lack of them – for decades.  They clearly are essential and will become more so as AI starts to automate more and more of the manual or even knowledge skills that most of the education and training we’ve been talking about is aimed at.  

And yet, these essential skills are still not foregrounded in courses and programmes – more often cloaked in the mysterious language of ‘embedded’ or ‘transferable’ skills.  And in my experience, often leaving our students lacking confidence in the essential and transferable skills they have almost certainly acquired and still less confident to ‘transfer’ them and demonstrate them in job interviews or on the job if they get it.  These essential skills have for too long been a subtext for much of today’s tertiary education offer. 

I would argue that these skills need to be the supertext for tertiary education with the domain or subject content being the important context for delivering these skills.  

Wouldn’t it be incredibly helpful for students if the course details for a programme of study showed a quotient for, for example, problem solving.  Do you get more problem solving practice and skill doing politics, or history and politics? Does computer science give you creative thinking skills? Does English literature give you analytical and data skills?  Might you get more information literacy studying economics at Queen Mary or at LSE?

That of course would require a common taxonomy for essential skills and we’re very far from achieving that at present.  I gave you the NfER definition of these skills earlier – communication, collaboration, problem solving and so on.

The SkillsBuilder programme which is specifically setting out to create a Universal Framework and language around these skills frames them as speaking, listening, problem solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership and teamwork.

An excellent new report published recently by Demos about The AI Generation and how universities can prepare students for the changing world, coins a new acronym: GRASP – which stands for General, relational, analytic, social, and personal skills.

No doubt Queen Mary in common with most other universities will have its own version of essential or employability skills.

Does it matter whether we all use the same language?  Perhaps not.  But if it were possible for the sector to agree on a common framework, it would make life a lot easier for students.  

So, this picture of the change in demand within skills domains (or sectors) over time, and the permanent and growing demand for quite stable sector-neutral skills, albeit at a higher level, is the critical backdrop for Tertiary education strategy.  

When lots of different actors are modelling what the skills supply and demand picture will look like in five or ten years’ time, it’s also important to note that our students want and need to be prepared for a job in the short term – when they complete their course or graduate, not in ten years’ time.   So Tertiary Education needs to prepare people for today’s occupational needs while giving them the skills and cognitive agility to carry on learning and developing as the working world around them changes.  

It needs to prepare people to work in a technological environment and to be productive around technology and around other humans.  We need to prepare people to thrive and flourish during ever more rapid change.


For the past twenty years or so I have watched higher education thrive on an ever increasing growth in demand for a university education while simultaneously witnessing the demise of Further Education.

Just 15 years ago there were over half a million students enrolled on Level 4 and Level 5 programmes.  By 2021 this had plummeted to half that number.  In 2021 just 135,000 students started on Level 4 or 5 programmes while three-and-a-half times as many enrolled in Level 6 or undergraduate programmes.

There are lots of reasons for this change – including funding incentives and disincentives which could be the subject of a separate lecture.  But for me a prime reason was the superhighway, and the absence of coherent, visible, and promoted routes to sub-degree level study.  And also, a lack of data to inform students about the career value of taking these alternative routes.  

Newspapers, think tanks, analysts, commentators, and officials regularly analyse the salary premium associated with various different undergraduate courses.  Similar data on the career value of Level 4 and Level 5 programmes are vanishingly rare.

In fact, some tertiary qualifications, such as Level 4 qualifications for men and Level 5 qualifications for women, lead to higher early-labour-market earnings on average than completing a degree once we adjust for some basic characteristics of those taking the different routes.

Tuition and maintenance funding for university education has rarely been out of the news since the dawn of the £9,000 tuition fee regime in 2012.  Whatever you may think of the repayment arrangements, the interest rate, the length of time before debt forgiveness, most people do know that they can access higher education in effect free at the point of delivery.  

The same is not true for the sub-degree routes.  There are different arrangements depending on your age, what programme and level you are studying, whether it is designated for funding by government, who the provider is and whether it’s funded via the Student Loans Company or through Advanced Learner Loans, the Adult Education Budget or through the apprenticeship levy.  

Perhaps the Lifelong Learning Entitlement – or LLE – which aims to simplify and unify the funding and repayment mechanisms will start to correct this.  I wrote recently on the Higher Education Policy Institute blog to suggest that universities could use the modular funding model of the LLE to propose a try-before-you-buy approach to higher education – in effect marketing each year of an undergraduate degree separately.  

Students would sign up for one year of a programme with the opportunity of a Level 4 exit qualification at the end.  Or the opportunity to continue to Level 5 at the end of a second year and so on.  Or to do a year at uni, then enter the workplace for a while before continuing later, perhaps on a slightly different pathway. 

By the way, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up until I was 41.  At that point, and having left school at 16, I made a deliberate choice about the degree I wanted and needed to pursue my ambition to work in the education sector. 

My sense is that demand for traditional university courses is starting to soften but even if I’m wrong about that, I’m certain that universities need to diversify their offer better to meet today’s students’ needs. Needs which are changing as rapidly as technology and the working world around us.  This means diversifying programmes, and mode of delivery.  It also means seeking partnerships with Further Education colleges and putting pressure on governments to facilitate that through joined up regulation and unified funding mechanisms.

universities need to diversify their offer better to meet today’s students’ needs

It means shifting out of subjects and skills silos and developing scholarship in new interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches.  

It means building new superhighways that meet students where they are at and mining the rich synergies between academic and applied skills.  

It also means universities doing what they do best – innovating for the future and creating new knowledge about education.

Education appears to be inching up the political agenda again and reform is in the air whatever the hue of the government after a general election.  This is an opportunity for all of us to advocate for a coherent, integrated tertiary education system and, critically, a highway network in secondary education that is properly mapped and signposted for all students.

And just one final reflection on my own education. There is no way that my schooling could have prepared my communication skills for the journey from Gestetner copiers to telexes, to fax machines, to email and now to WhatsApp and Slack or Teams over the last 45 years.  When I learned to type on a manual typewriter (yes, I am that old!) no-one imagined the rich technology world that informs anything I write using a computer today with my instant access to google search, years of my own electronic records, and even ChatGPT (which incidentally I didn’t consult about this talk).

I would also reflect that I don’t regret that my 11 years in school didn’t teach me anything about the working world – I think I’ve done OK figuring that out during my working life.  What I do regret is that I didn’t learn more history, more politics, more geography, something more than school-girl French, and more science. (Maths and English were OK by the way.)

So, it’s also important that we don’t get so entranced by the enormity of the 21stCentury skills challenges that we forget that it is really a fundamental human right to have an education that gives everyone access to the cannon of knowledge that helps us to be human, to live meaningfully in a democratic society and inspires us with the complex beauty of being human.  

Thank you.

1 comment

  1. Albert Wright says:

    A very interesting, wideranging and thoughtful article in support of ensuring we can have “… a fundamental human right to have an education that gives everyone access to the cannon of knowledge that helps us to be human, to live meaningfully in a democratic society and inspires us with the complex beauty of being human.”

    This is a complex challenge and needs to start very early in life so that “tertiary education” builds on firm foundations. We need to find better ways to “modernise” publicly funded early years, infant, junior and secondary education that uses modern equipment as early as possible.

    By the age of 3, you can see the inequality widening already between those children with experience and knowledge of talking, listening, books, tablets, mobile phones and educational toys at home and in nurseries and those who seem to only have TVs.

    We need universal access by the age of 4, for all children, to the technology of learning, so there is a level playing field for all to develop their individual abilities and make the right choices regarding education for life.

    With the right start, more people will be able to make more appropriate choices at every stage, including the very important 16 plus decisions.

    Better teaching pre age 16 should help later decisions which are likely to see fewer people requiring / seeking expensive, university based undergraduate degrees at the age of 18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *