ED4d - Economic Efficiency

Economic efficiency is a key consideration in education policy. This concept is not about making schools more profitable, but rather about creating a flexible and trained workforce that can meet the needs of society by teaching essential skills. The ultimate goal of education policy is to prepare students for the workforce, and this is evidence of the correspondence principle in action.

To achieve this goal, policymakers have introduced a range of programs and initiatives aimed at helping students develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. One such program is the National Work Experience program, which was introduced by the Conservative government in the 1990s. This program consisted of three elements: careers guidance, work experience, and community service. All students in Year 10 (or key stage four) were required to participate in this program and complete two weeks of work experience. Most schools used a collapsed curriculum day to recreate a job centre experience, where students were given the opportunity to choose from a range of work experience opportunities posted around the room, and then had an interview with a member of staff to discuss their choices.

However, the National Work Experience program was eventually discontinued by the New Labour government due to concerns about safety and child protection. Instead, the government introduced a new initiative called the Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PELTS) program. This program aimed to identify essential skills that students needed to develop and explore throughout their education, such as critical thinking, negotiation, teamwork, compromise, discussion, and debate. Teachers were asked to map these skills to their schemes of work to show where opportunities for skill development were offered.

Although the Pelts program is no longer required, the idea behind it was to identify the skills needed in the workplace and build them into teaching plans. The coalition government later introduced new subjects such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to promote the skills and subjects needed to compete in a global workforce. Additionally, the government also introduced programs such as Girls in Science and Technology (GIST) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in these fields.

In conclusion, economic efficiency is an important consideration in education policy, and preparing students for the workforce is a key goal. To achieve this goal, policymakers have introduced a range of initiatives and programs aimed at helping students develop essential skills and pursue careers in a rapidly changing global workforce.