Better educated soap characters. What next?

This item is to be found in the Further diary section of today’s Education Guardian.  

· The dear dotty Learning and Skills Council has finally flipped. The pressure of meeting those government targets has become too great. The quango is now trying to persuade imaginary people to enrol on courses. It has issued its daftest ever press release, calling on the writers of telly soap operas to get their characters better qualified. Many of the characters are “stuck in dead-end jobs with few prospects – such as street cleaners, market traders, or bar workers”, it observes. Among the culprits is Stacey Slater of Eastenders, who ought to quit her market stall and go to theFashion Retail Academy. Her continued presence in the market sets a bad example to young viewers, pronounces one quangocrat solemnly.

· Nothing better exposes the foolishness and hubris of the centralist planning mindset that dreamed up the LSC than this. The young people who tune into Eastenders do so because they want to be entertained. They do not want to be prodded by a quango bossyboots into doing some qualification or other. Of course, it would be possible to give all soap characters middle-management training, transferable skills, cheap suits and all the rest. How dull they would be and how quickly they would lose their audience.

Further comment would be superfluous.

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