The Great Debate UK

The cost of youth unemployment


Tony McAleavy-Tony McAleavy is the Director of Education at CfBT Education Trust. The opinions expressed are his own.-

In response to fears that 16 and 17 year olds were the forgotten victims of the recession, the government announced an extra 72,000 school, college and apprenticeship places from this month. If all the places are taken up, non-participation might dip from 14 percent to around 10 percent. And yet, as many as 100,000 16 and 17 year olds currently in employment (with or without training) would still be at risk from the recession.

This isn’t the first time youth unemployment has seen a worrying bulge. Since the early 1970s, policymakers have tried 34 different schemes – from the Training Opportunities Programme launched in 1972, to the Youth Training Scheme of the 1980s.

So what worked, what didn’t and have we learned anything from the millions spent about what actually gets young people off benefits and into work or full-time education? Our study of past schemes highlights ways forward for dealing with a very current problem.

from UK News:

Is the cost of university too high?

With annual student debt soaring to 5,000 pounds a year, young people face tough prospects, according to a new study by Push, an online resource for students.

New university students should expect to owe 23,500 pounds at graduation, the 2009 Push Student Debt Survey shows.

Are A-levels what they used to be?


dunfordjohn- John Dunford is general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders and was formerly head of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, one of the top-performing non-selective state schools at A-level. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Every August there is a debate in England about whether standards of A-level examinations have declined and whether A-levels are fit for purpose. Years ago, Dr Rhodes Boyson used to be the harbinger of annual doom; in recent years Professor Alan Smithers has invariably produced a report in A-level results week using statistics to “prove” that A-levels are getting easier.

from Africa News blog:

Does Africa respect its writers enough?

The reception would have done justice to royalty or a movie star when Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe paid a rare visit to his homeland recently, some 50 years after penning his book “Things Fall Apart”.

That book has a firm place on school syllabuses in much of Africa and is studied around the world. Achebe, now 79, has been acclaimed as the father of modern African literature and as the continent’s greatest living writer – his books being very accessible as well as giving a penetrating insight into the struggles of his people.