Thursday, 24 November 2005

Outsourcing the literate

It isn't only New Zealand that has been infected with the virus of school-induced illiteracy. As reported here the other day, aproximately 18 percent of adult New Zealanders are functionally illiterate, but the US has a similar State-induced mediocrity, just one reason for the popularity there and elsewhere of the practice of 'outsourcing.' 'Geography has been eliminated by technology,' and countries like India, China, Malaysia and even Egypt and Ghana are now becoming leaders in supplying staff who work offshore, but are linked to the home company by technology. All these places have two things that distinguish them from us, and make them attractive to local employers: lower wages, and literate workers.

Literate workers are the necessary foot soldiers of a knowledge economy. When literacy dives at home, as it has -- more feel-good crap and less real learning seems to be the motto of the state's factory schools both here and the US -- then it becomes easier to hire literate workers 'outsourced' from offshore.

Even as our own literacy levels plummet, this drive for literate workers outsourced from offshore offers an enormous incentive for those countries to improve their education systems.,
The good news is that all this competition is encouraging many countries, regions and cities to take a hard look at their education systems, infrastructure and other fundamental drivers of competitiveness. That ultimately raises productivity and prosperity in all locations. And for companies, it means they are all the more likely to find the ideal solution for each one of their functional needs, somewhere in the world,' [says Simon Bell, director of AT Kearney`s Global Business Policy Council].
So at least literacy is valued somewhere, if not yet in the classrooms of New Zealand and the United States.


  1. We all know the only solution is the immediate abolition of state schools. Give everyone vouchers and let the market do its works. But we also know that this will never happen.

    Long live socialism.

  2. Vouchers? That's just another form of giving control to the bureacrats, Berend. The Wananga o Aoteoaroa was a product of the voucher system, Berend -- the bureaucrats were happy that all the appropriate NZQA boxes were ticked; the student were happy spending someone else's money on their play-way courses; were ~you~ happy about all that? That's vouchers; why would you want more of the same, for pity's sake?

    What's wrong with just giving back the schools to those presently using them, giving back the portion of people's tax dollars that are paying for the factory school system, and effecting a permanent separation of school and state. You'll never get the government out of the classrooms until that happens.

  3. Literacy is just not valued now in many professions. My daughter has been fast-tracked into Digital Design for Y12 - because no architects/designers use paper any more apparently - and this is worth 80 credits compared to like 24 credits for taking English and maths.

    To get into Architecture at Uni you need Level 3 painting, design, or graphics - no maths or anything else these days.


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