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BT boss brands Britain illiterate

Schools a disgrace

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BT's chairman Sir Mike Rake has joined Tesco and M&S in slamming standards in British schools.

Rake said the company had had to throw away a quarter of applications for apprenticeships because their applications were unusable.

He said BT received 26,000 applications for just 170 apprenticeship posts. But 6,000 were useless.

Rake said: “They were unable to complete the form because they could not spell, put it together or read properly — completely illiterate. It’s a disgrace. The politicians have a huge amount to answer for over the past 50 to 60 years.”

He said basic skills were still a problem, as was pushing too many people into university, which he describes as an obsession.

Rake told the Sunday Times he doubted the economic value of university education.

He said: "If you look at Scotland, it has the highest graduation rate [in the UK], but lower productivity than northeast England. There is a very interesting question about whether university degrees turn into productivity. Too many people are going into the wrong courses... many universities are just desperate to fill places and get their grants.”

Rake claimed that BT's apprentices are choosing the scheme over going to university. ®

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