Patrick Ainley, Philosophy of Education Seminar, 10/12/14

THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE OF THE SAME: VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN THE SECOND MACHINE AGE

 Philosophy of Education Seminar, Institute of Education 10/12/14

 Patrick Ainley, Professor of Training and Education at the University of Greenwich School of Education and Training

 Whereas Michael Gove’s delusion that ‘a grammar school education for all’ would restart the limited upward social mobility that existed after the war (while Harold Wilson was merely being devious in suggesting that comprehensive schools would sustain it), the new policy and professional consensus that has succeeded it is equally delusional in seeing apprenticeships creating a productive Germanised economy. So-called ‘apprenticeships’ are accompanied by expansion of University Technical Colleges and technical diplomas from 14+ leading to Foundation-style degrees in rebranded FE colleges under One Nation Labour’s two nation education and training proposals. These attempt once again to ‘rebuild the vocational route’ in a Second Machine Age of increasingly fungible labour and mass downward social mobility. Instead, a general education in schools is proposed, while in ‘thick HE’ (Silver 2004), paradoxically, the vocational nature of training in the most prestigious subjects at the most elite institutions needs to be refound, especially by an academic vocation dedicated to research and scholarship. Undergraduates can then contribute to that continuing cultural conversation, giving them a sense that many have lost of what higher education is supposed to be about. This might indeed Reboot Robbins………

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