Friday, June 10, 2005

sleek as a shriek spinning round and round

Now why can't programs like this happen here in the US?

British Taxpayers Fund Free iPods: "The London Times reported that Bournemouth and Poole College is offering students iPods valued at 170 pounds ($310), along with 100 pounds ($182) in cash if they sign up for its 'Step up 4 summer' program. 'ONCE the prospect of a certificate and a handshake from the headmaster was all the incentive a student needed. Today it takes an iPod and �100 in cash to persuade unemployed teenagers to sign up for a course intended to improve their job prospects. A further education college in Bournemouth has been inundated with inquiries from prospective students since it announced the reward scheme on Saturday,' the Times wrote. 'The bill for the rewards, which could total �119,000 [~$217,000] for the iPods and around �750,000 [~$1.37 million] including the other benefits, will be met by the taxpayer.'"

The 14-week course, the Times said, shows students how to apply for jobs, gives them interview tips and teaches them how to prepare resumes.

The BBC quoted a spokeswoman from the college who seems to have pursued a degree in fine distinctions: "They don't perceive themselves as wanting to engage in learning or training so I see it as an incentive to get them back in to learning. They do have to be treated differently. I personally do not see it as a bribe. I see it as an incentive."

The iPod "incentive" plan first sprang up in Scotland, where school officials in Glasgow touted the players among other things as a reward for students who choose to eat healthier meals.

The Herald quoted a Glasgow City Council spokeswoman as saying that the program is proving popular so far: "After a successful pilot scheme the project was rolled out to all 29 secondary schools in the area. So far, we have given out 90 iPods, 156 Xboxes, 104 Amazon vouchers and 252 cinema tickets." That's a good thing, especially considering that ABC News sent a TV crew to St. Thomas Aquinas secondary school to do a story that presumably will be tied to our own obesity problem here in the states, the Herald reported.