National Qualifications Record System

Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th July 2007.

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Photo of Martin Linton Martin Linton Labour, Battersea 10:30 am, 26th July 2007

What recent discussions he has had on an online national qualifications record system.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Skills)

Ministers have regular conversations with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and sometimes those conversations relate to the qualifications infrastructure.

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Photo of Martin Linton Martin Linton Labour, Battersea

I welcome my hon. Friend to his first Question Time, and I welcome the new Department, which I am sure that many will see as a DIUS ex machina. I fully support the moves towards a national qualification records system, but I urge him to consider the alternative, whereby instead of having a central Government database, we have a user-centred approach in which each person keeps their own qualifications on a secure site where they can be authenticated by a third party such as an employer and can include not only school and university qualifications but professional and private qualifications from this country and abroad. That has wide support in the industry. Surely it is better for each individual to have ownership of their own qualifications than just to set up a central Government database.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Skills)

My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of individual ownership of qualifications. That is why we are shortly to trial the unique identification number. He has taken a big interest in this issue, and my hon. Friend the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education wrote to him about it in January. I am happy to meet him to discuss it further, but he already knows that we have taken the decision to trial the unique identification number without the broker system.

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Photo of Patrick Cormack Patrick Cormack Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new post and wish him well. Will he undertake one piece of qualifications research before we come back in October by trying to establish how many people are qualified to teach a broad history curriculum in our schools rather than merely concentrating on Nazi Germany, so that our children can emerge from school properly qualified in a knowledge of their own history?

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Skills)

I will miss my exchanges with the hon. Gentleman on culture. I know of his long-standing interest in our heritage and in history, which, in a sense, we share. On his question, I will have to leave that to my colleagues in the Department for Children, Schools and Families, but I will explore those issues in relation to adult education.

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