Sarika Sharma writes for the University of Oxford’s Cherwell on the government’s plan to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate system.
The world is a harsher place for young people exiting school. The three-fold increase in tuition fees, a political u-turn accompanied by little apology to Britain’s young people, has seen an approximate 7.7% decrease in university applications in just one year. Even if it amounted to a so-called graduate tax, it has created a climate of drastically depleted academic aspirations. And of those who have graduated in the past five years, many have had to come to terms with the saturation of the jobs market.
Now another radical change has come about, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), and it will make it even harder for a young person to succeed: all for a good purpose in the eyes of the government, of course. It is another part of the government cap on the aspiration of today’s young people, which has been especially damaging to the poorest.
First, there were cuts to public services and education which saw library closures, the closing-down of youth centres and a decreased investment in schools. Libraries play a huge role in developing literacy, but the government nevertheless went about cutting their budgets. The EMA, which enabled thousands of poor children to attend sixth-form, was abolished.
Kids had to make do with less, making hard times harder as their parents’ real incomes shrunk. Now Gove’s EBacc seeks to raise standards. It will certainly be harder to achieve the top marks than it was under GCSEs, but for whom will it be hardest?
Full article here.