I have run from British politics because they make me mad. You might remember this, but it bears repeating if only to ensure that I do... .
However, certain bits of information filter down to my depths, and as my antennae are, through habit, attuned to education, I am currently watching with a kind of dumbstruck incredulity, the nation's attitude to equipping the next generation for the uncertainty that the future holds. I hear that A Levels are, yet again, judged incapable of delivering the Holy Grail, and resits are to be curtailed to ... to ... Do what, precisely?
Does ANYBODY question the annual prize-fighting over 'standards' in education? How can they always be falling but never hit bottom? Are our children REALLY less well educated than the Finns?
You know something? I don't care. I've nothing against the Finns, they are good at passing tests and they founded Nokia. What's not to like? It's what we English are are up to that's got my goat. I hate what our system does to kids. Are, the competition for University places, the assumption that an academic education is superior, the unconscionable stress kids are placed under to achieve, REALLY the best we can do?
Open your eyes. The University merry-go-round is a market like any other. Do you REALLY think that 'standards' would be an issue if there were more places than students?
Disaffection amongst young people, graduates with no prospects of jobs, a poorly educated and unemployable underclass, are the result of the god-awful win/lose, pass/fail mentality that continues to be touted as the ONLY way to prepare our children for the rest of their lives. It's unfair, sure, but worse - it's wasteful.
I taught the 'proper' Baccalaureate for a while. Not the 'get a minimum number of subjects' travesty that the DoE peddles, but the real thing. Student questions formed part of the Programme of Study, as did mandatory inclusion of the elements of the Learner Profile - 'Principled', 'Open-minded' and 'Risk -taking' to name but three. The outcomes of the REAL Bac are measured both in academic achievement, and in what the students produced as a result of their learning that benefited the community.
I call that REAL education. And surely, in a global market, an international education, and a practising meritocracy, is exactly what our young people need? Maybe fewer of the truly intelligent will drop out?
Interested? Take a look: ibo.org