The new rules, which will see many vocational qualifications downgraded or rooted out altogether, will be used for rankings in school performance tables from 2014.
His decision is a severe blow to plant giant JCB which sponsored the building of a dedicated engineering academy next to its headquarters in Rocester to train the next generation of engineers.
David Bell, JCB’s chief development officer, said: “The diploma takes a lot more time than one GCSE and the amount of work is equivalent to five subjects.
“A lot is said about stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – but you only get the science and maths parts taken seriously as schools are dropping design and technology because they don’t count towards how the school is graded.”
“If I were a headteacher, I would be worried about league tables, so would I teach engineering?
Bricklaying course will also get chopped down from 4 GCSE equivalents to one, despite taking four time longer to complete.
The plan has provoked an outcry with warnings that the downgrade will cut student levels and impact on UK competitiveness.
Mike Short, president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, heading a group of business leaders said: “The Engineering Diploma is widely recognised as a significant route to providing the crucial technical and practical skills that young people will need to build a Britain that can compete effectively and internationally where technology can make such a difference to our digital world.”
“The engineering community is surprised and stunned at the Government’s plan for downgrading the value of the existing Engineering Diploma after so little time since it came into existence.”
Gove said: “The changes we are making will take time, but will transform the lives of young people.
“For too long the system has been devalued by attempts to pretend that all qualifications are intrinsically the same. Young people have taken courses that have led nowhere.”