Monday 28 January 2008

Maccy D Grade

Maccy D Grade: McDonald’s launches its own A level

Last year McDonalds in the UK launched a campaign against the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary of a "McJob" as "an unstimulating low-paid job with few prospects". It claimed this was insulting and out of date and went as far as launching an online petition.

Now, with support from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it has become one of the companies approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to provide accreditation of its in-house qualifications.

Welcome to the McDonalds A-level in burger bar management.

Brown has described it as “a tough course” and said that “once you've got that qualification you can go anywhere." Anywhere where there is a McDonalds, presumably, for as Sally Hunt of the University and College Union sensibly points out, “we would have concerns about qualifications that are very narrow and specific to one organisation, like McDonalds”. So how many universities – or employers- will be clamouring to accept people with McQualifications?

On the face of it, this looks like a further attempt by McDonalds to improve appalling image as an employer. But the enthusiasm of the government for the plan should be of little surprise. Private sponsors have already been given enormous influence over children’s education for a relatively small commitment through the government’s Academies, which have become it’s panacea for the secondary education sector. Labour has thus been able to transfer an average of £35m of publicly owned resources for each Academy into the hands of private companies – more than £14bn. Providing multinationals like McDonalds with the opportunity to run their own courses is just the latest step in its neo-liberal agenda.

There is plenty of evidence that children are increasingly becoming target groups for aggressive forms of marketing practices and for commercial pressure with a view to stimulate and increase their consumption. Imagine what more that can be done when companies run the schools and design the qualifications themselves.

So what’s next? GSCEs in Playstation Skills?

Random Blowe | Original articles licensed under a Creative Commons License.