Inside Business: It's no time for lectures

For as long as anybody can remember, business people have complained about the quality of their recruits. Just as policemen get younger so, too, the youngsters coming through the education system get less literate and less numerate.

However, there is little doubt that the situation has become worse in recent years, and the Government's recognition of this can be seen in its attempts to drag up standards. The problem is fundamental and only an overhaul will do.

Like the business community itself, the education system has suffered from complacency, lack of drive and not a little arrogance. Indeed, it could be argued that a large part of the problem has been the long-held view that teaching is something far too precious to be dirtied by contact with industry.

It is because that view is still around that last week's report from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce is potentially so important.

Written by Valerie Bayliss, a former director of youth and education policy at the Department for Education and Employment and author of last year's RSA paper "Redefining Work", the "Opening Minds" document challenges just about every aspect of the way in which schools are currently run and outlines a new competence-led curriculum and assessment system that fully integrates information and communications technology.

Reflecting that teachers have added their voices to those in the business community who have been expressing concern about what young people learn and how they do it, the report - subtitled "education for the 21st century" - calls for a debate on the purpose of education and repeats the theme of last year's document, that there is no point in preparing people for a world that no longer exists.

Indeed, it expresses the RSA vision of wanting an education system that will help every young person to develop the skills needed to become a successful, active citizen.

"Reforming the curriculum so that it is competence led instead of information led is the most effective way of doing this," the report says.

This is all very sensible, and many leading companies have realised this for a long time. Having discovered that sitting people in training rooms listening to lecturers does not necessarily deliver the results they are seeking, they have been using workshops and applied information technology to deliver more relevant and powerful training for some time. Some, such as Unipart and Motorola, have even gone as far as to establish their own forms of corporate university.

It is a shame that the education system is apparently still having to be convinced that this is the way ahead. But, rather than wasting time in pointing fingers, we should be encouraging more of the sort of initiative that Pizza Express launched the day after the RSA report appeared. It is working with primary schools to help pupils find out about food preparation and storage, and developing projects with secondary school children doing design and technology.

It is not exactly a big deal, but anything that aids the integration of education and work has to be welcomed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower