Students at Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke are furious about an Edexcel Biology A Level exam. Edexcel exams are set by the largest education multinational company in the world: Pearson PLC.

The exam had almost nothing to do with the course that has been taught this year. In fact, according to the students, the paper was a reheated version of an AS Level paper from two years ago. Thousands of other students around the country have agreed with these students by signing a protest petition.

It seems likely that Pearson has cut corners by recycling an old exam to cut costs and boost profits. This case proves the importance of keeping the private sector out of education. Exam boards that care more about money than anything else are likely to be reckless with the grades and futures of young people taking exams. That is what has happened with this Biology exam.

But keeping profit-making out of schools is like swimming against the stream as long as we live under capitalism. Privatisation and capitalism are inseparable. If we want education and exams that are up to scratch then we have to end privatisation and capitalism. Workers who know what skills are needed in the workplace and teachers who know what education they can provide are the best people to set exams. Multinational companies only interested in profit are not.

by Marxist Student Federation

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