Children in Britain are being given qualifications for being able to wash their hands, dress themselves, and make a cup of tea to children by an examination board.
These qualifications are said to be among an astonishing array of "ridiculous" certificates being handed out to youngsters by The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, the largest of the three English examination boards.
AdvertisementThe 100-plus list also officially recognizes children aged between 11 and 14 who can make a cold drink, operate a vending machine and use a self-service cafe as well use a vacuum cleaner, polish and dust, and comb and brush their hair.
The AQA recently awarded a certificate to a teenage boy for being able to catch a bus.
Its award scheme is being operated by an estimated 1,000 youth-associated services nationwide.
The program is Government-funded, with courses costing up to 20,000 pounds. Each certificate costs 10 pounds.
"When I heard that someone had received a certificate because they could catch a bus I was absolutely astonished but accepted it as just a one-off," the Daily Express quoted Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, as saying.
"Now it seems there are many more awards for equally insignificant tasks which leaves me almost lost for words. It is ridiculous and beyond belief and just shows how education in this country has reached rock-bottom. It is a national disgrace," he added.
John O'Connell, of campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"This may seem funny but the reality is that taxpayers' money is being spent on handing out meaningless qualifications. We shouldn't think that every youth scheme has to be rewarded with a certificate."
For a hand-washing qualification, a child has to wash hands with soap and water, with assistance where necessary, dry their own hands, and carry out the process on three different occasions.
To get a certificate for making a cup of tea a child has to successfully fill, plug in and switch on a kettle, wait for it to boil, pour hot water into the cup, remove the tea bag from the cup with a spoon, add milk and put in sugar as required.
Defending the AQA's life skills scheme, a spokeswoman said: "The Unit Award Scheme provides the opportunity to give students formal recognition of their success outside the normal qualifications framework. However we expect centers to ensure that candidates are entered for units that are appropriate to their needs and abilities. For students with very specific needs, something as simple as catching the bus would be a genuine achievement, while for other students, it would not be an appropriate unit to take."