This week, in the UK, students up and down the country will be collecting their A Level results. For some the grades won’t be as good as they were hoping for and they will be heading to UCAS Clearing who will be doing their best to find university places for these students.
In a an education system obsessed with tests and grades it made me wonder what the future might hold. From that thought this short story emerged!
“Hello, yes that will be me. I was told to come and see you. My name is Peter and they told me that you could help me out. Did I tell you that my name was Peter, I did didn’t I, well it’s just that I’ve……
“ENOUGH! Can’t you see we’re busy? I haven’t got time for idle chit-chat. I just need your surname and identification number.”
“Yes, of course, I’m sorry. It’s Jones, that’s my surname, Jones, my first name is Peter. I’m sorry I’m babbling again aren’t I? I always do that when I’m nervous, mum says my dad used to do that a lot. Not that I know much about my dad because he left us when I was quite little, apparently he went off with our …..”
“Sorry. Identification number, yes of course. Now what is my identification number? Oh yes, it’s PJ6435721 or is it 7512? I can never remember. Hang on a minute I’ve got it written down somewhere. I know they say you shouldn’t do that, you know write important numbers down, something to do with identity theft, but I just have to. So many numbers to remember, does my head in it does. I know I’ve got it here somewhere. Ah, here it is. Yes I was right it is 5721 and not 7512, I wonder what 7512 is? Sorry you don’t really want to hear about that do you?”
“At last! Here we are – Peter Jones, Identification Number PR6435721, DOB 21st August 2021, Present Age 18 years. I see from our records that you have just completed your final exams, is that correct?”
“That’s right, got the results today, that’s why I’m here. They’re not as good as I was hoping, in fact they are not good at all. I haven’t told mum yet, she’ll go mad when she finds out. I thought I’d come down here to the Ministry Clearing House first and see what my options are.”
“Well Mr. Jones I’ve got your results on the screen in front of me, let me see … Oh dear! They are not good are they? In fact they are quite awful.”
“I know, that’s why I’m here. I’m hoping you can help me, tell me what my options are. What I should do next? What I can expect to do with my life? That sort of thing.”
“Well Mr. Jones, as you know these exams determine your future. Every person, when they get their results, bring them to us and we tell them which pre-packaged life they are entitled to. We have a wide range of packages to meet the different grades that the young people, like yourself, get.”
“How exactly do these packages work?”
“They are very simple Mr. Jones and come with a full set of instructions. They tell you who you will work for and where, how much you will earn, who you will marry, how many children you will have, where you will live – in fact your whole life is mapped out for you. All dependent on your exam results.”
“Wow! I must say that all sounds very good. Of course I know that I’m not likely to get one of the top packages like a doctor or teacher or anything like that, so what do I qualify for?”
“Ah, that’s the problem Mr. Jones you don’t”
“Don’t! What do you mean I don’t qualify for a package? What sort of a life am I going to have if I don’t get a pre-packaged one?”
“I’m afraid Mr. Jones you don’t get a life at all. Today’s society has no place in it for failures. Your results are so bad that I’m afraid you will have to be liquidated. You’ll be pleased to know, however, that we have met Ministry targets and dramatically cut our waiting time. This means we will be able to carry out the procedure within the next 30 minutes.”
“Liquidated! Do you mean killed? What’s my mum going to say about that?”
“Don’t worry about any of that Mr. Jones, she will get full counselling. It will be pointed out to her that this is all for the best. Imagine the shame she would have to go through with neighbours and friends once they found out that her son was still at home and had no prospects. No Mr. Jones this is a much better alternative. If you would like to take a seat over there I will inform my colleagues downstairs that you are here. They should be with you shortly.