Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Britain's biggest companies gave warning last night that, despite a record number of graduates entering the job market this year, many will lack the basic skills needed for employment. Almost half of businesses said that they did not expect to receive “sufficient applications from graduates with the correct skills”. Last year 598 positions were left unfilled as a third of employers said that they could not find candidates of sufficient quality.

Managers cite a series of shortcomings in potential recruits. These include: Too much time spent working on degrees and not enough joining clubs and societies, where students might work in teams. Not enough experience of giving presentations in tutorials, leaving new graduates unable to communicate ideas in the work place. Poor spelling, grammar and mathematical ability mean that graduates are making basic mistakes, writing illiterate memos and are in need of constant supervision.

The recruitment crisis comes at a time of record growth in the graduate market. Starting salaries are expected to average £23,000 and the number of vacancies available is likely to rise for the third year running. But a survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) shows that many of the 260,000 graduates are being let down by the university system. Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR said: “[Graduates] must have the right aptitude, which partly comes down to the skills they can offer. If they concentrate purely on academic studies and have no work experience, they are not going to impress the employer.” Mr Gilleard admits that business is partly to blame, by shifting the balance in favour of more academic degrees. Companies are setting ever-higher entry requirements in an attempt to find the cleverest applicants. As a result, students are concentrating on getting a 2:1 degree or better and letting their extra-curricular activities drift.

Mr Gilleard is confident that, when top-up fees are introduced in September, universities will work harder to improve student career prospects. “Variable fees should act as a catalyst because students will gradually take the approach that ‘this is an investment and the university can help me get more from my life’,” he said.

Helen Bostock, a vice-president at JPMorgan, said that most of the bank’s candidates have attained four grade As at A level and good degrees, so students should consider what will make them stand out. She recommends doing summer jobs, volunteering or work experience but insists that “soft” skills do not outweigh the value of a degree. “In some roles they are weighted more than others, but you must have good academics whatever job you want,” she said.

More than a third of vacancies for graduates with the leading employers this year will be with accountants, professional service firms or banks. While more than half of the jobs are in London or the South East, only 4.2 per cent will be in Scotland and 1.6 per cent in Wales. Nearly one in ten posts (8.8 per cent) will be offered abroad. The South West of England is the only area in the country where these employers predict fewer vacancies than last year


Inattentive and sloppy teachers in Germany

A new bestselling book has branded German teachers as idle incompetents who are passing on the onus of education to increasingly frustrated parents. School education - once the pride of Germany - has become a "game preserve for human failures", argues the author of The Teacher Hate Book.

The 220-page diatribe by Gerlinde Unverzagt sparked hundreds of e-mails of support and has touched a popular nerve. A Parents' Power Party is starting up to demand that teachers salaries should be based on performance rather than on seniority. German educational standards have been slipping, according to international comparisons of pupils' writing and reasoning skills. The country is now at the lower end of the European league tables in literacy and maths. Yet, according to Frau Unverzagt, teachers have responded by becoming even more sloppy. "Blatant spelling mistakes are not marked as wrong, but are rather awarded a question mark in the margins as if the correct spelling was somehow a matter of debate." Elementary mathematics is rendered incomprehensible, geography teachers muddle continents.

More and more parents have to compensate for poor teaching, she says. Parents' evenings are dedicated to explaining the new German spelling rules. The parents are then supposed to ensure that all homework is written correctly before it is submitted to the teachers. Josef Kraus, president of the German Teachers Association, has personally protested to the publishing company, claiming it was unfair to blame teachers for the ills of society.

"But the truth is, nothing will change until the teachers accept the need for change," says Frau Unverzagt, a journalist and single mother of four children. She argues that teachers should not be given civil servant status - which makes them almost unsackable in Germany. Frau Unverzagt wrote the book under a pseudonym to protect her younger children. Teachers are not only lazy, she says, but also vindictive. "My eight-year-old son's teacher came into class, held up the book and pointed at him, declaring `your mother did this'." The boy nodded nervously. "When he came home, he was a nervous wreck and told me `Mummy, I've betrayed you'."

Germany's education system is regionally based. The new book directs its criticism at Berlin but in Bavaria, where there is better funding and higher standards, there is less parental anger. A comprehensive survey by Dortmund University, however, showed general German dismay with teachers. Schools have become a social battlefield. Some now insist that German is spoken in the playground and during classroom breaks to promote the integration of immigrants. Teachers have been put in the position of patrolling the corridors on the alert for non-German words and yet unable to impose any meaningful penalties on linguistic offenders.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

Comments? Email me here. For times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site (viewable even in China!) here


No comments: