ERIC Number: EJ799995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Do the Brokers Know Best?
Adults Learning, v19 n1 p16-18 Sep 2007
In January of this year the Government set out plans to reform the funding and planning of the learning and skills sector in a consultation document called "Delivering World-class Skills in a Demand-led System". The document followed the final report of the Leitch Review of Skills and accepted almost all of its recommendations. In relation to adult learning outside the universities it proposed that within a few years all funding should flow through two new mechanisms; one of which was untried and one at best unproven. Programmes designed to meet the needs of employers would follow the model developed through the Employer Training Pilots (ETPs)--now slightly amended and re-branded as "Train to Gain". Programmes focused on the needs of individuals would be delivered through Learner Accounts. It has been decided that existing viable programmes will be set aside to follow this new approach, as has recently been confirmed in what is now the DIUS's implementation plan. The Government calls this new approach "demand-led". The use of the term is deeply controversial. On the one hand, many people argue that what is happening amounts to an unparalleled restriction of individual choice. On the other hand, it is certainly true that the influence of "providers" in the new system will be much diminished. Colleges and adult centres, it is said, will have to act as though the system were demand-led, and respond to, rather than lead, change even if the demand derives from the Government or its surrogates rather than from firms and citizens. It is argued that the approach will increase both responsiveness and efficiency. In this article, the author believes that the key players in this new approach are the brokers who now operate at every level of the education system. He argues that the emergence of the broker reflects a government so convinced that it knows best, and so confident of its prescriptions, that it is prepared seriously to destabilise adult learning to impose its preferred programme.
Descriptors: Adult Learning, Educational Change, Labor Force Development, Government School Relationship, Personal Autonomy, Politics of Education
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.niace.org.uk/Publications/Periodicals/Default.htm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A