'TechBacc' alternative to A-levels to be unveiled
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Monday 22 April 2013
Plans for a new "Technical Baccalaureate" to run alongside A-levels will be unveiled by the Government today.
The move is designed to mirror education systems in Germany, Japan and South Korea - where vocational qualifications are given equal status to academic studies.
Under the scheme, students who gain a high level vocational qualification - such as engineering or construction, a “core maths” qualification - at least the equivalent of gaining an AS-level in the subject, and have completed an extended project testing their writing, communication, research and motivational skills - will qualify for the award.
The “TechBacc” - as it has been dubbed will be used in league tables to judge schools and will be promoted as an an alternative to A-levels for 16 to 19-year-olds.
Its introduction this autumn comes after research shows that fewer young people - boys in particular - are opting for university in the wake of the new fees regime of up to £9,000 a year while the numbers opting for apprenticeships are growing.
“The TechBacc will be a mark of achievement for young people who successfully study three key elements - a rigorous high-quality vocational course, maths and literacy,” said Skills minister Matthew Hancock.
Mr Hancock first mooted the idea of a TechBacc last December after Labour leader Ed Miliband had promoted it in a speech to his party conference in October. Under Labour’s plan, 18-year-olds who complete a programme of work experience, school-based vocational training and academic courses in maths and English would be awarded it.
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