Two to Quango?

by Emily

The Centre for Policy Studies has recommended that two thirds of the current educational Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations (Quangos) be scrapped.

Educational Quangos are responsible for the development of the exam system, curricula and teacher training among other aspects, meaning they have a massive influence over the lives of teachers, students and private tutors in the UK. These bodies have always been contentious as they are not directly controlled by ministers and have come under fire from politicians of all flags. Such complaints have been strengthened by recent sub-par exam results in the education arena, the most high-profile being the recent SATs. Added to this that we are still in a recession, and that the Quangos between them ate up £1.2 billion worth of funding in 2007/08 and the pressure has become almost too great to bear.

So what will take their place? Overall it is suggested seven out of eleven bodies close and some of their powers devolve directly to schools. Other organisations should be adopted by the voluntary or private education sectors.

The opposing view is represented by Schools Minister Vernon Coaker, who has defended the current Quango system. He pointed out that while they are not under ministry control, Quangos are accountable and independently audited bodies. There is also the possibility that devolving powers onto schools would divert resources from teaching and tuition.