Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The OECD Verdict on UK Education

As the old saying goes, " the proof of the pudding is in the eating...". Globally, our academic pudding is clearly not that great. I am at this very moment listening to the Shadow Secretary say something about unqualified teachers teaching in classrooms and that somehow the decade preceding 2012 is irrelevant to the OECD's very disappointing findings on Education in the UK. As an academic all through that period, the one thing I do know is that throwing money at this problem will not solve it. Indeed, success in imparting knowledge to our young now appears in inverse proportion to the level to which Educational institutions and their staff have been indulged.

I believe that each teacher must possess a passion for teaching coupled with a desire to see young people succeed in life. If either of these guiding principles is absent in our educators, failure is inevitable. My experience at Teaching College was that it was, first and foremost, political in its outlook. Later as an University Academic, I found amongst my policy-making, meeting-attending, course-gerrymandering colleagues, a complete absence of any ethos apart from, a loyalty to the narrow type of people who now preside over virtually all academic institutions in this country. Educators and Academics now function as a pack rather than as intelligent individuals.

It is a matter of fact that there has been a systematic "cleansing", in Academia & Education, of the type of old-fashioned, highly qualified individual who possesses a love of knowledge and a zeal to share that love of knowledge with others. These old-fashioned (now contraband) teachers of the past, vocationally drawn to the teaching profession, accepted a lesser financial reward for the privilege of Public Service. I remember being inspired and motivated by such individuals amidst battered desks, old laboratories (free from the sometimes tyrannical foolishness of Health & Safety), dark libraries filled with dog-eared books, scintillating ideas, sparkling conversation and enthusiasm. Such individuals are now deemed seditious and dangerous, because their commitment is to Education rather than to the very highly paid "big-wigs" in our sterile & newly-refurbished Educational Institutions.

I have pontificated, at length, in previous blog-posts about the many, many things that are so very wrong in Education and Academia. With the large amount of wealth provided to now make them solvent, the money is being used to aggrandize the self-importance of those institutions. Our educational establishments will remain mired in their self-promoting & self-righteous armour as long as their failure does not hit academics and educationalists in the pocket. In the meantime, their attitude is that, globally, our young people will "just have to lump it....".

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