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What is the Future of FE?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by simon_t, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Does anyone have an opinion on what is the Future of FE in the UK? Looking to re-start my FE career but im not sure if it will FE is here to stay
     
  2. I think FE has a huge part to play in the future of Britain as a post-industrial society. The traditional 'scientifice management' systems that managed factories in the industrial era, are now being employed in the service sector e.g. plumbing and heating. These systems control labour, and group it into productive systems, that can be measured and organised e.g. homeserve, AA plumbing insurance, and other manufacturer service conracts that now undercut the local independant installer (think what supermarkets did to small corner shops). So, I see a shift away from the one-man-band (arguably less inclined to train), to organisational labour forces, that will organise training as a way of shifting responsibility for actions on to the lone worker (if someone is deemed a competent by qualification, and gets something wrong, then its the individuals' fault, not the organisations' problem)
    Furthermore, because the technologies employed in day to day work, are becoming more complex and ever changing. Take renewables technologies for example, such as solar, combined heat and power, wind turbines etc. These require a work force that is competent to work on these appliances and systems; a workforce that is trained to intermediate level and above (NVQ3-NVQ4 +). Thus FE will be the provider of qualifications that industry need to operate.
    The other part that FE plays is social. With the lack of available employment for the 14-19 year-old cohort. FE will seek to inspire and motivate those who are not yet in employment, a difficult task, but a purpose nonetheless. There are big problems around this issue, that some refer to as 'social engineering', however this will be a challenge and one, I think FE is up to. On this note, FE has changes to make, which concern pedagogy, but little is really known about or written about in terms of research. Much of the research that has been conducted does not really deal with the day to day teaching and learning in FE, but does deal with how targets are being met and how accountability is being monitored. So we are lacking published accounts that evaluate the performance of both the macro social activity and the micro teaching and learning processes.
    To conclude, FE has a clear purpose in our society and a future that is worth investing in. However, behind this positive post, sits a multitude of problems e.g. overwork, meaningless qualification structures, staff retention, stress, audit mountains of paperwork etc. These are problems we have to solve ourselves through collective action. I see this as being actuated by practitioner studies and research of the sector, that tell it like it is. It also means we have to develop mediums for collective action, such as pressure groups and voluntary professional organisations.
     

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