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Using technology to police learners

February 13th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

They don’t make life easy for us do they? I have spent a lot of time trying to persuade people of the liberating potential of technology for learning and then along comes the UK government with this proposal. I can see no educational merit whatsoever in the database. This is all about managing people, not supporting learning. The only bright side is the UK government have never delivered on any of their large scale IT schemes – there seems little reason to thing they will do so this time.

From the Guardian newspaper:

“The government has devised an electronic database to track every teenager from the age of 14, recording their personal details, every exam result and exclusions….The database will be accessible to employers, teachers and training agencies, and will include an online CV. The record will be permanent.
Gemma Tumelty, president of the National Union of Students, said: “We are concerned about the track records of the government on maintaining and safeguarding data. We are also worried about routes of progression – should every slap on the wrist at school count against you for ever? Why should an exclusion matter 10 years on? Surely everyone is allowed a few mistakes. We would worry this would turn into a national ID card.”

A spokesman for the University and College Union said: “The government’s track record of dealing with complex ID systems is far from impressive. We have all done things at school that we are not proud of, but we do not expect them to hold us back permanently in life and nor should they. Such a scheme would not seem to fit with the government’s stated aim of giving everybody a second, third or fourth chance when it comes to education.”

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