Letter: Vocational courses are on target

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report ('Deep flaws in vocational courses failing students', 14 December) was muddled. National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications are not about courses so it is proper that there are no exams. Nor are they only about trades such as plumbing or hairdressing; they cover Accounting, through Information Technology, to Warehousing. There are three fundamental attributes about National Vocational Qualifications which make them unique. Employers set the standards on which the qualifications are based, candidates are assessed in a working environment, and they are all referenced to a common framework.

GNVQs are about assessing achievements and are course-oriented; but some difficulties of assessing achievement have been experienced. However, it might have been more helpful to say 'the aim of a new system is good but it needs more work' rather than talking of 'deep flaws'.

To end on a positive note, how good it was to read the thoughtful, constructive article 'Tangible results make NVQs a popular option' (16 December).

Yours sincerely,

GORDON EWAN

Chief Executive

Information Technology Industry Training Organisation

London, W1

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