The DeHavilland Blog

Friday, May 26, 2006

How the British connect business and education

The BBC has an interesting article on increasing communication and coordination between businesses and colleges (Colleges and Firms 'Must Listen' - May 24, 2006). Colleges are not meeting business needs for prepared workers, both in the area of basic skills (the conventional college education) and ongoing professional training, and to address the disconnect between these two groups, the government is setting up a network of 450 'skills brokers' to liase between businesses and colleges.

Like the British, we tend to operate in silos - there seems to be limited interplay between education's stakeholders. While I've heard about isolated attempts at true collaborative efforts (see here for one example), it's more common to see groups talking past one another - schools trying to bring in businesses on the school's terms (donations of money or volunteers into programs designed by the schools) or, on the flip side, businesses trying to dictate reform to schools (something Larry Cuban writes about here).

If we can't get people at the top of the business and education communities to sit down of their own accord and work out a partnership plan that incorporates shared responsibilities and mutually agreed-upon outcomes, perhaps we do need an independent liaison to tackle the job. Because it needs to happen before business will ever make a real investment in education, and it needs to happen before we can expect to see schools producing a majority of students who are ready for the next stages of their lives.

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