Train teachers in schools, not universities

March 5th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Aspiring teachers should be trained mostly at schools instead of university to help get the best and brightest in front of classrooms, a report argues.

The push for “training schools” comes in the first year of a groundbreaking scheme by one Auckland school in which aspiring teachers complete their training in school and as members of staff.

A report released today by the think-tank and co-authored by former Auckland Grammar School headmaster John Morris argues more options are needed for those interested in teaching.

Teachers are the single biggest influence on student achievement in schools, theTeaching Stars: Transforming the Education Profession report states.

One way to improve the profession should be the option to train teachers in schools, which would have top schools accredited as training schools where teacher qualifications could be offered in conjunction with a university.

Sounds an excellent idea to me.

John Morris is the co-author of a NZ Initiative report on teaching quality with Rose Patterson, which argues the case for performance-related pay. The report, published today, proposes a performance-related pay system in which teachers would need to apply to ascend levels on a pay scale, moving up when certain standards were met.

You mean like almost every other job does. I find the idea of automatic progression up any scale as ludicrous when it is for a professional role. Think if we paid MPs more for the length of time they have been in Parliament!

Mr Morris said the standards would not be based on student achievement data but on factors such as contribution to the school as a whole. He said the Education Council of Aotearoa NZ (Educanz), which will replace the Teachers Council, was a strong candidate to articulate such standards.

Mr Morris is the chairman of the transition board overseeing the establishment of Educanz, and his comments have infuriated the PPTA union, who strongly oppose the proposed pay overhaul.

President Angela Roberts said she had written to Education Minister Hekia Parata calling for Mr Morris’ resignation from the board.

Ms Parata said Mr Morris was well-respected and one of 11 people on the transition board. “I am confident that any potential conflicts of interest can be managed,” she said.

Rather than attack Morris, I’d rather hear from the PPTA why they think progression should be automatic, and have their input into what factors should progression up the pay scale be based on if it is not automatic.

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45 Responses to “Train teachers in schools, not universities”

  1. Ross12 (1,488 comments) says:

    Well this great.

    But it is also going full circle. Primary teachers, in particular, when the old Teachers Colleges existed used to spend a large amount of time in real classes as part of their training. They used to call them “sections” and I think they went out to range of different schools as part of that training. Well done Mr Morris.

    The same thinking should be applied to many other training schemes and apprentice training.

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  2. thePeoplesFlag (283 comments) says:

    “…The same thinking should be applied to many other training schemes and apprentice training….”

    And wait for the snivelling employer complaints about having to pay for it…

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  3. Rick Rowling (816 comments) says:

    Don’t we already do that with Normal schools?

    http://www.georgestreet.school.nz/about-us/what-normal-school

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  4. Psycho Milt (2,429 comments) says:

    One way to improve the profession should be the option to train teachers in schools, which would have top schools accredited as training schools where teacher qualifications could be offered in conjunction with a university.

    What’s different about this approach, compared to the current one of training teachers by having them intersperse university study with hands-on training in schools? Just the current government’s agenda of allowing less-qualified or completely unqualified teachers into classrooms.

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  5. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    Just the current government’s agenda of allowing less-qualified or completely unqualified teachers into classrooms.

    So you are against the current approach.

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  6. Huevon (231 comments) says:

    Yes, but if they spend more time working and less time in the university, how will they get indoctrinated into Leftism?

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  7. Ed Snack (1,941 comments) says:

    No PM, you are obviously simply being partisanly clueless. The current training mechanism does include some on-site training, but far less than it used to. It is far more theory with too little practice. My partner went through this several years ago and found the adjustment to actually being in a school very difficult.

    You seem to have this odd fixation, that a person with some theoretical qualification is somehow a better teacher, which is perhaps simply the conceit of the nomenklatura, you after all know far better what is needed than those like Morris. Why not have the option, some people are simply good teachers, it seems to be a “gift” if you will, one of personality, and not something necessarily easily taught.

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  8. Ross12 (1,488 comments) says:

    TPF — why would employers complain if they knew they were going to get better employees at the end of it ?

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  9. mandk (1,033 comments) says:

    @ Psycho Milt,
    The benefit of training teachers in schools instead of universities is that they would have to spend less time having to imbibe left-wing pedagogy.
    That would be great, wouldn’t it?

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  10. Nigel Kearney (1,100 comments) says:

    Aspiring teachers should be trained mostly at schools instead of university

    This is true of almost any job. One year of tertiary education spread across the first 3-4 years of employment is plenty. Maybe two years for highly specialized professions such as doctors.

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  11. Harriet (5,201 comments) says:

    How much was it again that education degrees cost?

    More time in the front of a class means two things:

    1] Pay. You legally have to pay people who train on the job.

    2] Lower degree costs & less public funding. If uni is doing less – they get less.

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  12. stephieboy (3,535 comments) says:

    They used to train Nurses in hospitals . That was abolished in favour of training in polytechnics . It has worked well with no ill effects on patients.
    Nurses in training do sectional hands on training on site at Public hospitals .Teachers do similar in schools
    This talk of school training seems to be an attempt to try and de-legitimize teaching as a profession.IMO.

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  13. Psycho Milt (2,429 comments) says:

    The current training mechanism does include some on-site training, but far less than it used to.

    If so, it sounds like the current system needs a few tweaks, not to be replaced with an apprentice system.

    You seem to have this odd fixation, that a person with some theoretical qualification is somehow a better teacher…

    Yeah, me and pretty much everyone who knows anything about education. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that someone with a university law qualification is somehow a better lawyer, someone with a university qualification is somehow a better doctor, and so on. Just so we get this completely clear – we’re talking here about a government that’s reached the conclusion that teacher quality is the most important factor the Minister of Education has some control over, and their plan to improve teacher quality is lower qualifications for teachers. Do you honestly feel good about cheerleading for that?

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  14. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    President Angela Roberts said she had written to Education Minister Hekia Parata calling for Mr Morris’ resignation from the board.

    That would be right. Fucking dirty gang bullies.

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  15. MT_Tinman (3,322 comments) says:

    stephieboy (647 comments) says:
    March 5th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    This talk of school training seems to be an attempt to try and de-legitimize teaching as a profession.

    Teachers unions have already done that by politicising everything the profession touches.

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  16. Red Sam (122 comments) says:

    “One way to improve the profession should be the option to train teachers in schools, which would have top schools accredited as training schools where teacher qualifications could be offered in conjunction with a university.”

    These schools have already existed in the primary school sector for many years. They’re called normal or model schools, for example in Wellington there’s Kelburn Normal School, Karori Normal School, Karori West Normal School, Raroa Normal Intermediate School, Clifton Terrace Model School.

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  17. Maggy Wassilieff (492 comments) says:

    I went to Training College to do 1 year secondary training when I was 41. I had worked as a scientist and science editor for 15 years before this. I learnt bugga all about running a decent lesson at Training College. All practical/ useful information came from observing teachers in the classroom (during practicum sections) or from learning from my own balls-ups in the classroom.

    The benefit of Training college was that I met a cohort of trainees who were willing to share their experiences of different classes/schools with me. I believe the head of our secondary training section was trying his best to ensure that all his trainees had maximum exposure to practicum teaching experiences in schools. But there were many more folk at Training College who believed that they were the experts and could deliver all the knowledge and experiences that a new teacher needed. I thought many of them had had limited experience of the variety of pupils in NZ secondary schools. Most of them also had a rather high opinion of their own teaching abilities.
    (Talking to well-qualified graduates is a much easier venture than trying to deliver Year 9 curriculum to a bunch of 13 year-old boys with limited reading and mathematical skills).

    The good thing about getting out into classrooms early on in your training is that you will quickly learn whether or not teaching is the career for you. Its a waste of your time and money to discover late in your training that you don’t like kids en masse, or you are not cut out for enduring the bureaucratic crap that comes with the job.

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  18. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    Great idea! It could also be applied to many other occupations, starting with the news media replacing on-the-job or part-time, on-the-job training instead of hiring from Leftists madrassas.

    Look at German skills training: hundreds of types of apprenticeships, even for people like travel agents.

    The way to go!

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  19. SW (249 comments) says:

    Why not do away with University as a training institution all together? That way employers can be sure that their employees haven’t been indoctrinated with leftist bullshit and can teach them practical skills rather than unnecessary theory.

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  20. doggone7 (850 comments) says:

    Maggy Wassilieff: “…there were many more folk at Training College who believed that they were the experts and could deliver all the knowledge and experiences that a new teacher needed.”

    The irony is that there are a hell of a lot more folk who believe that they are the experts and can deliver all the knowledge and experiences that a new teacher needs who have never been near a classroom except as a pupil. They are on blogs like this. If some can get to be so knowledgeable via that route why do trainees teachers need to spend more time at the chalkface?
    ( Just kidding of course – more time spent on site will be of great benefit.)

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  21. OneTrack (3,374 comments) says:

    Huevon – “Yes, but if they spend more time working and less time in the university, how will they get indoctrinated into Leftism?”

    Damn, beat me to it. But not to forget Treatyism and Greenism.

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  22. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    SW at 12.45 may or may not be posting tongue in cheek. Obviously, many occupations require university level theoretical training in addition to practical experience – engineering and medicine are obvious examples.

    Our practical agriculture-focused universities, Lincoln and Massey, have been diluted with PC courses such as environmental engineering and Maori subjects and IMHO ought to be refocused.

    However, when university resources and funding are limited, it seems odd to me that PC nut subjects like feminism and practical skills like social work have been introduced as university courses.

    It’s great to have the NZ Initiative opening the topic for debate, rather than blindly accepting the current direction. Universities and polytechnics have captured many types of training previously provided on the job. This is a state takeover of training and is creating impoverished, house-renting generations thanks to the student debt young people have to take on.

    Why point to home ownership? It contributes strongly to old-age security, to family security, to a savings-oriented culture, and to self-sufficiency. The fall of home ownership will be because of student debt rather than house prices.

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  23. Psycho Milt (2,429 comments) says:

    However, when university resources and funding are limited, it seems odd to me that PC nut subjects like feminism and practical skills like social work have been introduced as university courses.

    Well, yes. To the kind of people who reach for their revolver when they hear the word ‘culture,’ it’s a terrible thing for universities to introduce people to abstract theoretical concepts, or offer training in how these can be created, interpreted, manipulated etc using the brain. They find such things annoying, frightening and threatening.

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  24. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    The idea that teachers simply move up the pay scale automatically is completely untrue. You can have a debate about the robustness of the appraisal process but you can’t claim there is automatic pay rises every year. Every teacher has to have an annual performance appraisal which involves student surveys of our performance, looking at our contributions to the co-curricular and extra-curricular life of the school, the professional development we’ve undertaken and our progress towards performance goals we set at the start of the year. We also have to pass a lesson observation and have our appraisal signed off by the Head of Department, Deputy Principal and Principal.

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  25. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    Re Psycho Milt at 1.44:

    So universities are teaching social work and feminism for cultural reasons?

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  26. SW (249 comments) says:

    Jack5 – for argument sake (bear with me mate), if you were to guess, how many women were CEO’s, doctors, lawyers, plumbers etc in NZ in 1950?

    If you accept that life has changed for women in a way that it hasn’t changed for men over only 1 or 2 generations, what do you put that change down to? Is there no benefit to anyone anywhere to learn about how things like that change and what the consequences of such change are?

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  27. Nukuleka (405 comments) says:

    ‘The idea that teachers simply move up the pay scale automatically is completely untrue. You can have a debate about the robustness of the appraisal process but you can’t claim there is automatic pay rises every year. Every teacher has to have an annual performance appraisal which involves student surveys of our performance, looking at our contributions to the co-curricular and extra-curricular life of the school, the professional development we’ve undertaken and our progress towards performance goals we set at the start of the year. We also have to pass a lesson observation and have our appraisal signed off by the Head of Department, Deputy Principal and Principal.

    What utter crap!! What planet is this person living on. This is NOT what happens in the teaching profession. Been teaching for 37 years and so am in the know.

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  28. Jack5 (5,286 comments) says:

    Re SW at 2.34: Surely you are not putting down progress in women’s occupations down to feminism courses? They benefit by doing the same training as men. Were Kate Sheppard and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union members university graduates?

    In general, I doubt anyone thinks universities are useless. The question is whether some vocational training could be done better and more economically outside them.

    Wasn’t this the original concept of polytechnics? That plus upskilling the old (secondary) technical colleges. The polytechnic staffs and boards soon began driving to become universities, or to otherwise focus increasingly on fulltime courses rather than earlier part-time courses, which shared training with work experience.

    According to OECD figures NZ is one of a handful of countries in which more than 20 per cent of young people graduate from tertiary institutions. We rank with Canada (PC Central), Ireland (broke), Japan, and Slovenia (it’s doing well).

    If university education is the criterion for economic advancement why are we still an agriculture-dependent country that hasn’t had a balance of payments surplus for around 40 years?

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  29. Maggy Wassilieff (492 comments) says:

    @ doggone 7…… You don’t have to be teacher-trained to have knowledge of good/bad teaching practice. Many of us commenting on KB are parents and know the effect a lousy teacher can have on our childrens’ behaviour, expectations and learning.
    Part of the problem with NZ schools is that a large proportion of teachers know nothing other than school and school life. Those who have had a few years out of the mainstream education system seem to offer more as teachers.

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  30. stephieboy (3,535 comments) says:

    This from SW,

    “Why not do away with University as a training institution all together? That way employers can be sure that their employees haven’t been indoctrinated with leftist bullshit and can teach them practical skills rather than unnecessary theory.”

    A grand example of unreason why its a complete waste of time debating on this thread.!

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  31. doggone7 (850 comments) says:

    Maggy Wassilieff: ” You don’t have to be teacher-trained to have knowledge of good/bad teaching practice. Many of us commenting on KB are parents and know the effect a lousy teacher can have on our childrens’ behaviour, expectations and learning.”

    You don’t have to be medically trained to have knowledge of good/bad doctoring practice. Or have to be mechanically trained to have knowledge of good/bad servicing of vehicles either. That does not mean one can walk off the street and take up those jobs, do them well enough or know enough about them or be able to tell the trained and qualified ones how to do them.

    Back to your own experience of teacher training. I think most of the important stuff is learned on the job. A limitation now is that most of the formal training is done at the beginning and then the rigours of the job do not allow for deeper reflection and change, taking into account what has been experienced. The on-going ‘professional development’ is more maintenance and about introducing new stuff rather than an overhaul, refurbishment, rebore or reconditioning.

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  32. Maggy Wassilieff (492 comments) says:

    @ doggone… there was a time when any graduate could walk straight into a teaching job. I taught with some who had never been through Teacher’s College..most seemed to be pretty good. We seem to be happy to have our tertiary lecturers delivering lessons without any of them needing classes in how to teach. Admittedly some are crap lecturers….. but some are damn inspiring!

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  33. SW (249 comments) says:

    Stephieboy – I was being ironic (as picked up by Jack5).

    Jack5 – thanks for your reply. No not all. My point was simply that the study of femnism, despite popular belief, is not really about women being better than men – it is a study about this change. That sort of study won’t get you a job and certainly isn’t everyones cup of tea, but it might not be completely worthless. The appropriate place for that type of study is obviously Uni, along with other ‘PC nut subjects’.

    I get your point about vocational training – but couldn’t the same be said about many Uni degrees (ie law and medicine)? I see Polytech as training for jobs that are more practical based and where theory isn’t so important. The practice of law is largely practical, but that initial theory is still highly important. As for teaching, would you put it somewhere bewteen say plumbing and law in regards to its academic training requirements?

    Your other points are all good and well, but I think NZ’s lack of economic advancement is more complicated than the percentage of young people in tertiary education. In fact, that 20 per cent figure might reflect NZ’s economic position (ie poor job prospects for those who choose not to study).

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  34. Psycho Milt (2,429 comments) says:

    In general, I doubt anyone thinks universities are useless. The question is whether some vocational training could be done better and more economically outside them.

    Indeed it could. However, the current Minister of Tertiary Education strongly disagrees with you and prefers to think of universities as higher vocational training institutions, a kind of fancier polytech.

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  35. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Nukuleka,

    I don’t know where you are teaching but in my school the process I described is exactly what happens every year for every teacher in the school. Schools can have different versions of appraisal but they have to be signed off on by the principal and teachers have to be judged against standards set based on the length of their service.

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  36. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Just get rid of the unionised commos trying to hijack education and we will see harmony and achievement. Until this profession is rid of the Clark regime’s social engineering weirdos there will be problems. At present the best option is Charter schools.

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  37. shednz (2 comments) says:

    On job training is obviously important and this is recognised at the moment. A teacher trainee graduate is not actually a registered teacher until they have 2 years on the job experience and have been signed off by their principal. Until then they are a bit like a driver on their restricted – they are allowed to practice driving by themselves but they aren’t by definition a driver. Saying a teacher trainee needs more on job training or only on job training has probably got little to do with education and more to do with fiscal interests.

    My personal belief is we want teachers university trained so they have honed critical and creative skills in a particular field. Colleges are useful primarily to familiarise wanna-be teachers with professional planning, assessment, reflective practices. In terms of actual curriculum they are not needed and often do a lame job that treats trainees like children themselves.

    If teachers are the most important thing to a students success (which is IMO bull manure – try teaching and keeping the attention of a hungry child who watched dad give mum the bash the night before and see how important you are to them) but IF they are, then you must want them to be quite professional – as others have pointed out, like a dr. or a lawyer. You don’t want some half-cocked cowboy or girl wandering in with your precious Jane and Johnny. In this case on top of their practical skills (planning etc, see above) you want to add some research knowledge and theory into the mix so they have a professional level understanding about the many facets of the teaching and learning process. This lets them THINK about and IMPROVE their practice using a range of ideas.

    OR if teachers aren’t that important ( I think they are they are just not THE MOST important) to you then train them like technicians and send em in to manage your rowdy lot so you can be rid of the kids for a few hours, you can go to work to pay for your flat screens and inflated mortgages and earn some tax dollars for the pot. In this case they aren’t Drs or lawyers they are nurses and mechanics (no offense to these noble trades intended). It just depends how important your kids’ education is to you really – do you think you need/want a professional or a technician? Hey – i know maybe the pros can just teach in the private schools…and the state can have the rest ; ) Bet Johnny and Hekia’ll be keen on that one.

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  38. Steve (North Shore) (4,538 comments) says:

    Their’s a thought, teachers learning at school. They could learn to speel and do grammar things, and punchuate

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  39. Viking2 (11,684 comments) says:

    IMHExperience, training schools and polytech’s are the highly paid solution that many chose when they are failures at their trade.
    e.g. Welding classes; taught by useless pricks who were no good in a workshop. End result, people with certificates who actually are unable to do workshop welding. 1. because they have been badly taught 2. because they have been taught how to gas weld and arc weld when today no one uses this. Its all mig and tig.

    Waste of the students money, the taxpayers money and an employers money. i.e. lose, lose and lose.

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  40. SW (249 comments) says:

    Viking2 – so would your solution be to abolish tertiary training for trades?

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  41. doggone7 (850 comments) says:

    I love it how teachers have to be word perfect with absolute mastery when they spell and write and be so faultless that they can never even have an occasional lapse or oversight. Yet they need to be so flawed as to knowingly take all the advice thrown by cretins.

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  42. Harriet (5,201 comments) says:

    “…..Their’s a thought, teachers learning at school. They could learn to speel and do grammar things, and punchuate…”

    Add in some ariffmatik – and no school leaver will ever again vote Labour.

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  43. shednz (2 comments) says:

    @ Steve
    go ezy…this is a blog not an essay

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  44. HB (332 comments) says:

    Jeez, what school are you teaching in Nukuleka? I have to agree with RightandLeft. The appraisal process I go through to advance up the pay scale is as he/she describes. I have a whole folder of evidence I provide showing how I meet the Registered Teacher Criteria too – constantly being updated and added to. This will also continue once I have reached the top of the pay scale.

    Maggie – maybe in the old days it was true that teachers know nothing of the world outside of school but I don’t agree that this is the case for most now. A lot of the teachers I work with have (including myself) have had careers in other areas. Most of the people I did my teacher training with were my age (at the time, 30) or older. There is a lot of variety now.

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  45. Psycho Milt (2,429 comments) says:

    IMHExperience, training schools and polytech’s are the highly paid solution that many chose when they are failures at their trade.
    e.g. Welding classes; taught by useless pricks who were no good in a workshop. End result, people with certificates who actually are unable to do workshop welding.

    Here’s an idea. Employers could start taking on school leavers and providing them with on-the-job training by having them assist skilled tradespeople, leaving the polytechs to cover only the more theoretical, classroom-type stuff. After a few years of that, the kids should be just about skilled tradespeople themselves. We could call them ‘apprentices.’

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