UK Census Form Illustrates the Chaos that is FE

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As I read through the 2011 Census form I found myself having many of the thoughts about it that have been widely aired in the press, in particular wondering just how useful such a process really can be for social planning purposes. However, as I'm clearly not a good judge of that question, I'd best say no more.

Two things struck me quite forcibly, however:

[1] the failure to distinguish between an MA / MSc, a PhD, and a PGCE.  These, it seems, are all "postgraduate" if you're a censur.   What purpose is served by this deliberate confusion is hard to say – and anyway, a PGCE is usually only postgraduate in the temporal sense, and not a level one.  Maybe there's some nascent pique here: a resentment that my hard-won PhD is counted in with all those many, many MAs out there!  Surely not?

[2] Respondents are invited / required to identify their qualifications.  This is all pretty straightforward when it comes to GC(S)Es, A levels, and degrees (notwithstanding the MA / PhD confusion), but when it comes to vocational qualifications it's a very different story.   Because there have been so many awarding bodies and levels, when all the possibilities are written down it looks like an alphabetical obstacle course.  No wonder there's so much confusion, I thought.  So much is historical baggage, of course, but are things really different now?

As to the Census form, I am really looking forward to filling it in ... .

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