Letter: Exam results

Sir: Ruth Lea of the Institute of Directors says (report, 20 August) that employers "see people coming to them with a fistful of A-levels and even a degree who do not have the basic skills that would make them employable".

If commercial companies really believe that educational standards are falling they must anticipate reduced competence among their clients. Are they planning for a dumber clientele, and are their strategies for mentally defective customer bases being unveiled at shareholders' meetings?

Again, if opposition parties really believe that the quality of public intelligence is dropping, as evidenced by "grade inflated" exam results, how do they plan to win the next general election with an electorate significantly more stupid than it was in 1997?

Moreover, if parts of the press and other media sincerely believe that their potential readers, listeners and viewers are getting dumber, can they assure us that their output in five years' time will be sufficiently inferior intellectually to what it is now, to communicate with minds able only to accept garbage?

Finally, if universities are really finding their first-year students more deficient than previously in basic skills and necessary knowledge, will they either refuse to admit them or return them whence they came? If educational standards in this country really matter, surely the exemplary sacrifice by universities of a year's funding is a price worth paying?

RICHARD WILKINS

General Secretary

Association of Christian Teachers

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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