Schools in the UK need to treat results of GCSEs less seriously to prevent themselves from becoming little more than 'exam factories', the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said, after it pleaded for better levels of learning to promote skills rather than simply knowledge.
According to the CBI, schools put too much pressure on their pupils to perform highly in exams for subjects such as English and maths, rather than learning skills that will stand them in good stead in the employment sector in their future.
It has been a longstanding complaint from many employers around the globe that school and university leavers come into the jobs market after their graduation without basic communication and personal skills to help them fit into a workplace.
Some also lack basic knowledge of business acumen that could help them advance better than their academic qualifications.
The CBI also said that the focus on academic results over and above any form of skills-based teaching means that UK students who are not cut out for working in a sector reliant on strong exam performance are often left behind.
As a result, it called for there to be a change in the way exams are dealt with in England and Wales. The organization said that there was too much sway given to GCSEs and called for exams to be moved away from those aged 16, and be replaced by testing and assessment at the age of 18 instead.
CBI director general John Cridland said: "In some cases secondary schools have become an exam factory.
"Qualifications are important, but we also need people who have self-discipline and serve customers well. As well as academic rigour, we need schools to produce rounded and grounded young people who have the skills and behaviours that businesses want."
By allowing pupils to shine and learn a trade in schools rather than just their exams, it could be the case that those coming out of education are ready to move straight into apprenticeships and places of work with a far-smoother transition.
Posted by Alex Donnell