Businesses back return of O-levels

BUSINESS groups last night welcomed the news that education secretary Michael Gove wants to drop GCSEs and bring back traditional O-level exams in an attempt to boost academic rigour.

“Businesses have steadily lost confidence in the ability of the education system to deliver young people who are ready for the world of work,” said Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce.

“If this is a route that leads more employers to say more young people are ready for the world of work, then it will have been successful.”

Yesterday Gove told the House of Commons he wants to “tackle the culture of competitive dumbing-down” and “see every student in this country able to take world-class qualifications”.

Neil Carberry, head of education & skills policy at the CBI, said that “rigorous standards are essential” if an exam system is to produce young people “with the right skills, attitude and aptitude to succeed in the workplace. We are concerned that GCSEs in their current form may not be delivering on these requirements.”

But Gove faces a struggle to implement the proposals as the Lib Dems have signalled they will fight the changes, in another blow to the unity of the coalition.