Chris Bennett: Getting real about education
Author: Chris Bennett
Speed of change has always created a struggle for policy makers but as the Education Strategic Review reaches another breakpoint (In Focus page 6) full engagement will be needed, especially from business, to ensure workable outcomes.
With the consultation now closed the 539 responses reached by February can now start to be examined and used to influence the recommendations put forward by the General Optical Council in its 2017 report.
Optician has been outspoken and impatient in its desire for changes to education that will provide the workforce that the optical business needs. This column greeted the scrapping of the one year transitional period for CET harshly but pragmatism must be the watchword. We are where we are but the process can only be as good as the engagement it achieves with the whole of the optical community. The worse possible scenario is that the optical business sits back and accepts change as something being imposed by regulators, associations and bureaucrats.
The rules resulting from the workshops, made up of stakeholders, now being convened need to provide the most practical, workable and future-looking framework possible.
It’s unlikely that the rules being created now will be perfect for the future market structure given the accelerated change gripping the optical business. But that’s no excuse for inaction. The GOC has wrestled long and hard with the ESR. It’s a Gordian Knot of an issue and the future of everyone in optics depends on new routes for education being found.
That means everyone playing their part in the process and being realistic about what young people will be doing in the world of work. The process must make retail optics the primary point of contact, put the patient front and centre and provide short timelines to make the recommendations as fresh as possible.