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Former Prime Minister’s Failed Policies Are a Gold Mine for his Son - by Theodore Dalrymple

An interesting aside on the academic/apprenticeship debate currently underway in education. Nowhere is the debate more visible than in the Blair household where father and son embody the competing visions for 21st Century higher education. As Theodore Dalrymple notes in the Epoch Times:

"Euan Blair, the son of the former British Prime Minister of the same surname, has done very well out of a start-up called Multiverse that directly opposes the educational policy promoted by his father when he was in office. Mr Blair junior’s stake in the start-up is now worth, on paper at least, somewhat more than $200 million."

Dr. Dalrymple neatly demolishes the now widely-discredited targets set by Blair Snr for students applying for degree courses at university. Increasingly the future, it would seem, belongs to his son:

"In essence, the start-up is an online employment agency that offers to place young people with employers who will give them an apprenticeship training of some kind as an alternative to college or university.

Mr Blair senior, by contrast, wanted 50 per cent of school-leavers to go to university. This target was inherently corrupt and corrupting. If you set a centralized bureaucracy a target—and the British educational system was and is very centralized and bureaucratic—it will meet it by hook or by crook. It will change the meanings of words and alter the way by which outcomes are measured.

In the case of universities, it lowered entry requirements so that 50 per cent of the school-leavers met them. Instead of setting a standard that had to be met in order to be admitted to university, it took whatever standard 50 per cent of school leavers had reached and made it sufficient for admission.

It is hardly surprising in these circumstances that standards fell. For many students, their courses were of neither intellectual nor or of vocational value, but they indebted themselves to pursue them.

Mr Blair’s son, Euan, correctly apprehended how bad his father’s policies were, how poor the results, and saw in them an opportunity. Eventually, the message would get through to school-leavers that the obtaining of a university degree was not an infallible solution to the problems of adult life, often quite the reverse, and that something else was necessary for them."

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article for Epoch Times by Theodore Dalrymple - A British Prime Minister’s Failed Policies
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