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ERIC Number: EJ877305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
A Long-Awaited Revolution
Flint, Colin
Adults Learning, v16 n4 p16-17 Dec 2004
The heart of Mike Tomlinson's vision of the future is the diploma. This is seen as the answer to the problems posed by "the proliferation of qualifications of different types and size, few of which offer a balance between generic and specialised knowledge and skills". The diplomas look to provide coherence and balance, and to bring a transparent and identifiable structure to the inchoate and deeply confusing mess of vocational qualifications. This--the diploma--is going to be entirely new territory in the systems, as it will operate at different levels--Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced--and encompass all students in the cohort. It also encompasses A-levels and makes GCSE redundant. The Entry-level diploma is an essential component of a genuinely inclusive system. It is designed to encourage and recognise the achievement of all learners working below Foundation level, learners who have been largely disregarded in current structures. These are not insignificant numbers of young people: it is estimated that between four and six per cent of the 16-19 cohort operates at a level of achievement below Foundation, and another 5.4 per cent of 16 year olds achieved no GCSEs or GNVQs in 2003. What Tomlinson does is give them a firm footing on the ladder and the chance of some recognition, giving a sense of both aspiration and of achievement. Those who have worked with adults without any form of qualification know very well how inspirational these first steps can be. The author urges everyone to work hard for a strong consensus on Tomlinson, because this report is good news. There is need for continued debate, for further refinement, but this set of proposals is intelligent, brave, radical, and educationally sound. It is by a very considerable distance the best attempt seen to provide solutions to problems which have beset people for generations, and have led to levels of human wastage that were always destructive and are now wholly unacceptable. There are problems which need to be resolved, but that's the second reason why there is a 10-year lead-in time. In that period people need to win the case for a single qualifications structure that meets the requirements of school-leavers and of adult learners, that is genuinely portable, transferable, accumulative, and which encompasses higher education too. Now that's what could be called a revolution.
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:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A