regulation always feature strongly when businessmen get into a session of “What
is wrong with Britain?”
However, the top spot
in most lists belongs to our education system.
This is not altruism.
Business has to deal with the practical consequences of the failure of schools
and universities to equip young people for the modern world.
We are living in an
increasingly knowledge based economy. That makes a good education more
important than ever, not just for an elite but for the whole workforce.
Countries in Asia and
the developing world understand this. Their emphasis on a highly competitive
education system produces a stream of impressive young people with the
potential to do very well in the global marketplace.
This, combined with
the over-regulation of employment here, means no one in their right mind
employs anyone in Western Europe unless there is no alternative.
Yet, in the face of this
challenge, Britain is actually getting less competitive.
The latest suggestion
is abolishing oral assessments in language examinations – lowering standards
further in a vital area where Britain is already notoriously bad.
already undermined by the use of continual assessment by teachers – which is
obviously corrupt – and by the theory that children should not be allowed to
fail because it undermines their self-confidence. This might sound
compassionate but actually does the child no favours when he grows up and is
found to be unfit to compete in the real world.