A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: The UK Government cuts back on mature study
Previous entry: Cluck
Tuesday February 12 2008

From Times Online:

All 14-year-old children in England will have their personal details and exam results placed on an electronic database for life under a plan to be announced tomorrow.

Colleges and prospective employers will be able to access students’ records online to check on their qualifications. Under the terms of the scheme all children will keep their individual number throughout their adult lives, The Times has learnt. The database will include details of exclusions and expulsions.

Officials said last night that the introduction of the unique learner number (ULN) was not a step towards a national identity card. But it will be seen as the latest step in the Government’s broader efforts to computerise personal records.

The bit that seems to be most open to abuse is the bit that says: “… prospective employers will be able to access students’ records online”.  Prospective employers?  That sounds like a lot of people.

The NO2ID News Blog doesn’t appear to have any comment about this particular report.  But on January 31st, they did quote Timothy Garton Ash saying this, which seems pertinent:

Britain’s snooper state is getting completely out of hand. We are sleepwalking into a surveillance society, and we must wake up. When the Stasi started spying on me, as I moved around East Germany 30 years ago, I travelled on the assumption that I was coming from one of the freest countries in the world to one of the least free. I don’t think I was wrong then, but I would certainly be wrong now. Today, the people of East Germany are much less spied upon than the people of Britain.

What does it do to the world if everyone can quickly find out everything about everybody?.  Well all right, not everyone and not everything, but let’s just say: every “connected” person (elite member who can access such info), and every exam result? Will exam results become even more important?  Will people check each other’s qualifications before socialising with them, the way they google them already?  Will the fact that the wrong kind of exam results count for very little mean that egalitarianism will take yet another beating?