Too much emphasis on academic studies in education system

Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:00
Posted by Scott Buckler

Too many people in Britain study academic subjects at university. That is the view of over half the public (55%) who think more people should study for practical and technical qualifications

In a new YouGov poll published by Policy Exchange ahead of a major report into vocational and technical learning, less than one in five people think that British universities and colleges have struck the right balance between academic and practical learning. People living in Scotland (62%) and the Midlands and Wales (60%) are most in favour of a greater emphasis on practical and technical learning.

The poll of 1,624 people, conducted this week to coincide with the Richard Review into apprenticeships, also found that nearly half the public (47%) thought there was too much focus on academic subjects at school and not enough practical, job related training. Only 21% of people thought that the balance was about right.

Dr Owen Corrigan, Education Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, "This poll clearly shows that there is an appetite in Britain for a greater emphasis on job-related and practical learning in our education system. Worryingly, roughly one in three students are dropping out from their A-level courses. For many learners an alternative route could provide better outcomes in terms of progression into work and further or higher education.

"Neighbouring countries offer strong technical and vocational routes through their education systems and enjoy some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe at present. It is time for Britain to give serious consideration to expanding and improving provision in technical and vocational education."

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