Do I hear correctly? The BBC is being forced to take down its free educational site, Jam. What a disgrace. OK, there must be some of our money being spent on this site, but surely that’s what a successful public service should be doing. It should be helping to educate the next generations of children in all aspects of life. Literacy and numeracy are part of the deal. How can the Government bow to the pressures of commercial companies who cannot cope with the competition. Isn’t this what free trade is all about.
The teachers have had an excellent resource. They can point children to the particular place to get the information in the knowledge that most of them will have a look at least. There is no way that this will be done in the future, with the same results. Some of the teachers will have to take out any web references from their teaching notes. Without the free BBC resource, they will not be able to choose one commercial supplier over another. This would constitute bias and favouritism! So what we shall be left with, or should I say our children will be left with is no guidance at all.
When the parents do decide they would like some help they will then have to find some cash to get it. Which site will they choose? Will they get value for money? I doubt it. If the companies cannot keep up with some competition, they will not be capable of producing something that is useful at a reasonable cost. Not all parents will be able to afford to subscribe to several suppliers until they find one that works for their children. How many times have we bought a service on the web, or at the door, only to find that the deal was not worth it and the service was thrown away. Many, many parents will not be able to do this. Their children will simply not get the opportunity.
Where will it stop? Will all the BBC sites that compete be taken down – with music, videos, sport, the list is endless and why should News be any different. Will other news companies decide that the BBC has too much funding for News. Why should they be allowed to take the public licence fee and produce News programmes? I’m happy with what the BBC is doing with my money. It’s not much money to produce such results. I want to know that there is an accountable body producing content that I can rely on to be balanced and well thought out. If that means that the BBC has to become a huge multinational company to succeed then I’m all for it. Let’s spread our values to the world and allow our children the best chance to flourish.