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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Price of Education?

Dear Ivor

Appreciated your phone call yesterday, thought I’d post something on the blog just in case you happen to stumble across an internet connection in your impromptu tour of the Peak District. You’re right, think communing with nature is just what you needed at the moment, looking out over the hills in the driving rain whilst wondering how far it is to the next hostelry is just how I imagine you will find yourself……….............extremely cold and wet! We have got a cabinet to organise you know and I have had to cope single handedly with counting the votes for our Head of Economy, which was actually a tie between Evan Davis and Alvin Hall, so have put them down for a job share arrangement. Quite handy really as they can set up a rota and this leaves them free to pursue their other careers. Apparently 66 per cent of Tory MPs have jobs outside parliament, 37 per cent of Liberal Democrats, but only 19 per cent of Labour, still I suppose you could say that as Labour are in power they should be a bit busier?

Whilst you have been tucked up in your sleeping bag thought you might be interested to know that Boris has launched his youth strategy for young offenders and troubled teenagers. His suggestion was to enrol them in the scouts and guides, can partly see his logic, locking up one offender costs about £90,000 whereas scouting only costs about £15 a term with trips on top. Forgetting to ask the volunteers involved for their opinion on the scheme was probably a slight flaw in the plan and also he may have had a considerable problem convincing the young people concerned that neckies and woggles are all the rage! Perhaps Boris could take a lead from the EMA scheme. I mentioned it to you the other day, it pays £10, £20 or £30 per week to 16 to 18 year olds from households earning between £21330 and £31580 to encourage them to stay in school and also gives them 5 bonuses of £100 linked to attendance and study. Would a similar scheme based on non-offending work? Nick Clegg seems to think that the £100m spent on bonuses for the EMAs could be viewed as unfair, as some students get paid for handing in their work on time and others don’t. I wonder could an incentive for one student act as a disincentive for others? Despite Nick’s fondness for “The Gruffalo” think he may have a point. What I find incredibly poignant is that in developing countries plagued by poverty parents and children are desperate for education and yet here we have to resort to paying our young people to stay in school. Has education become just another commodity in our supposedly developed world? Is there some way of us restoring value to education and I don’t mean with a price ticket? Am becoming a little strident probably too much American campaign viewing! Do you think we should try appealing to rugby Moms?

Must go as am getting out the sleeping bag and thermos for a late night with Jim Naughtie and the election results. Robin has turned the heating off!

Take care.

Poll xx