Puzzle posed by NEETs conundrum

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CONCERN that some children who are ‘not switched on to learning’ and are being let down by the education system was raised at last week’s Tynwald sitting.

Ramsey MHK Leonard Singer asked Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK and Economic Development Minister John Shimmin what policies were in place to drastically reduce illiteracy when Mr Shimmin gave an update on progress being made to address the problem of people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

Mr Singer said he was shocked to hear from a constituent who is in business and has experience of interviewing NEETs that said some were unable to read and write.

‘There are teachers who are good at dealing with these problems, but clearly not enough, and this problem of young people leaving secondary school unable to read, write, fill in a form, is not acceptable in this day and age.

‘We are good at identifying people who, because of illness and handicap, need that extra help, but it is clear that some children are allowed to drift from an early age – the educational basics are not being absorbed – and this is not being comprehensively addressed.’

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan MHK raised his concern that only two schools – Ballakermeen and St Ninian’s high schools – still send 14 to 16-year-old pupils to undertake vocational programmes at Isle of Man College. He said it could be valuable for students ‘bored stiff learning mathematics’ to see it being used in a vocational setting.

Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK didn’t take part in the debate.

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