Sir Digby Jones, the new ambassador for Skills in the UK was on the Today programme this morning to discuss the Leitch review.
The Review was published last December as a review of the way skills are developed in the UK. Overall there it takes a dim view of our achievement to date. We have 5 million adults who cannot read even the yellow pages and 11 million who could not count their change in a shop properly.
Interestingly the report notes how adult education is critical to learning, as we will in future have fewer graduates and school leavers due to demographic change.
My view is that our educational failure is the main cause of our low economic productivity relative to competitor countries such as the US, France and Japan. Also the report notes we spend about 1% of GDP on higher education, with 2% spent as the OECD average (see here how poorly we do in the various tables) . Also in China and India much greater store is set by learning and education.
I hope Digby, always outspoken in his career, will lead the charge to improve the situation. No doubt government will take a nannyish role; especially with the weak Bill Rammell in charge.
We need to get our population to want to train itself, have the self-motivation and even be willing to pay for their own training. Sadly, I cannot see a Labour government and associated quango's being able to change the mentality that all your education is courtesy of the state and finishes when you leave school. I hope the Tories can come up with some better policies in this crucial area.
UPDATE: Ian and Newmania have rasied good points in the comments section.