Johnson should not try to abolish the distinction between academic and technical education

The Prime Minister’s announcement of what the papers are calling a ‘radical shake-up’ of higher and further education marks a return to the spotlight for the subject.

Having been one of the central reform programmes of the Coalition, education has slipped down the agenda under David Cameron’s successors. We noted at the time that the issue had ‘lost momentum’ under Theresa May, and in December it received just a single page in the Conservative Manifesto.

The spur for this latest tranche of reforms is the prospect of lots of people needing to re-skill as a result of losing their jobs during the pandemic. As the Telegraph reports: “a new “lifetime skills guarantee” offers a fully-funded college course to people over 18 in England without an A-level or equivalent.”

Boris Johnson also intends to make student loans more flexible, to allow people to space out their studies if they choose to

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