Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Careers Advice for Seven-Year-Olds

The government now wants to give careers advice and introduce university to 7 year olds.

What a ridiculous idea. Children need to be allowed to be children. Better focus on discipline and teaching children to be able to read, write and do basic mathematics before moving to high school. That is the place to introduce them to careers advice and the aspiration of university.

But if we look closely, this is just another 'seen to be doing something' scheme by the government which I believe will do little for children, education or employment.

Indeed, I suggest it may have the opposite effect, that of reducing aspirations because children feel pressurised and 'switch off'.

Considering, also that there just is not and probably never again will be such a thing as full employment, we are setting up young children to fail, the effects of which could be devastating both at a personal and socio-economic level.

And what do we tell the children who we convince university is the career path for them, those this idea is focused toward from deprived backgrounds, when they find they cannot afford to go to university?

Once again I see a proposal that on the face of it appears to be advantageous to the disadvantaged, but the result will be the opposite. The education and aspirations of those people will be reduced, leaving an underclass that can more easily be controlled.

I suggest to the government another way, if better education and greater aspiration is the aim. First, we invest in real jobs that produce goods people want. Pay a decent wage and allow employees the right to negotiate better conditions. Then we will find more children in families where the mother can afford to stay at home to raise children. We will have a generation of children growing up in a working household and will see that as the norm, rather than benefits and low esteem.

And you never know, contrary to popular belief that high wages cause inflation and cripple the economy, all this extra money to spend and being spent might actually stimulate and strengthen the economy, truly bringing prosperity to all.


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