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GCSE reform won’t boost employability: Michael Mercieca on BBC News Channel

Michael Mercieca on BBC News Channel

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s further narrowing of the curriculum on exams and theoretical knowledge will not improve vital employability skills among young recruits.

That was the verdict of Young Enterprise CEO Michael Mercieca when he appeared on BBC News Channel.

While Young Enterprise supported high academic standards, they were simply a basic requirement and therefore teaching theoretical knowledge was “only half the story,” he said.

Mr Mercieca argued that with one in five 16-24 year olds struggling to find work  it was time to introduce more enterprise education into the curriculum so that students could also learn practical skills that employers are crying out for.

Business organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry agreed with his view, he said, as they had called repeatedly for a greater emphasis on work-readiness in education.

His words came after Mr Gove announced he was removing coursework from GCSEs and moving to an exam-only approach. The Secretary of State said the new format would be “more challenging, more ambitious and more rigorous.” The exams will be essay-based more like O-levels, phased out in 1988.

Mr Gove’s plans include:

:: scrapping grading A*-G and replacing it with a scale of 1-8, with 8 as the top;

:: abolishing modules and having exams at the end of the two-year course;

:: axing coursework for almost all subjects and curtailing re-sits;

:: cutting the number of subjects with “tiered” exams aimed at different abilities.

Mr Mercieca said:  “This is another step by Michael Gove in the direction of theoretical education. High academic standards are essential.

“But we believe the Government’s approach lacks a focus on the skills, attitudes and behaviours that young people actually need in their working lives.
“Young people need ‘employability’ skills like teamwork, presentation, communication, reliability, and resilience that employers look for.
“The Coalition’s approach risks squeezing practical, enterprise education that helps make young people ready for work, out of the classroom.”

Watch Michael’s interview on BBC News Channel

More about Young Enterprise campaign for enterprise education