Schools failing business, claims CBI

Aug 25 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Many employers are unhappy with the business awareness, literacy and numeracy and attitude of the UKs current crop of school leavers, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Research by the CBI has found that more than a third of firms are dissatisfied with the literacy and numeracy of young people, while an overwhelming seven out of ten expressed high levels of dissatisfaction with school leavers' business awareness.

Over half were unhappy with school leavers' foreign language skills and self management, while almost four out of ten criticised their attitude towards work.

The CBI said that the government was at fault for not equipping students with the basic skills needed to succeed in British businesses. CBI Director-General Digby Jones said: "The government has made significant progress with primary school education and with high-achieving young people, who do well by international standards. But at other levels the education system is clearly not delivering what employers want. There are too many people who simply lack the basic abilities to step into today's world of work.

"Too often employers have to pick up the tab with extra training - damaging UK productivity - when low basic skills are a direct result of failures in the education system. The government should make eradicating this scandalous weakness its top priority before considering more radical education reforms."

GCSE results published last week show that half of pupils failed to achieve grade C or above in Maths and 40 per cent failed to get grade C or above in English.