In the last week I was coming home on the plane and I found myself reading a very interesting article by Digby Jones, the ex-minister and ex-Director of the CBI, in the June edition of British Airways’ Business Life magazine. In this article, in which he expounded on aspects of his life, he said the following:
One statistic that staggered me when I was Skills Envoy was that 20 per cent of the adult population of the United Kingdom, which is the fifth biggest economy on Earth, cannot read to the standard of an 11-year-old, and a third of the population cannot add up two three-figure numbers…
What is surprising to me is that people think these figures are enormous or really bad – in reality they describe a situation today that is far in advance of what it used to be. The meaning that Digby has is that comparatively these figures are worse than other countries and this is something valid to focus on.
Which makes it absolutely mad that governments (Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat) believe it is valid to always discourage education on the basis of ‘it costs a lot’ and not to encourage it on the basis that someone who is educated is likely to bring in more income and therefore pay more tax! That is it …. just ratchet up the costs of education and particularly University education… one day it will be 100%