Friday, 24 June 2011


I just caught a glimpse of a piece on bbc breakfast. If it's on again before I have to leave I'll pay more attention, but the gist of it was this: 

Some woman, talking about education, was saying that our children should be educated with the purpose of feeding the machine. Well, obviously she didn't use those exact words, but that is what she said. Schools, teachers, the education system should tailor what it does to the needs of business. I think she used the word 'responsive'. Business has a duty too, of course, she acknowledged- to identify and communicate their projected needs. TO ASSIST THE EDUCATORS IN FEEDING THE CAPITALIST MACHINE. Well, of course she didn't say those words, and she didn't shout them in capital letters. But that is what she meant. 

Our education system should NEVER be dictated to by business. Our education system should be teaching children to be creative. To think for themselves. To ask questions. Our children should be taught philosophy. And that if we don't look after the planet we live on, nothing else will matter anyway.

Of course, they will say that it's about skills. But you can learn wonderful, real, important skills whilst having a rich education. Children can learn to think and to communicate. To read, to write, to calculate, but also to be confident, innovative, adaptable, thoughtful. To work together or alone. ALL OF WHICH ARE IMPORTANT LIFE SKILLS. Children should be taught the essential skill of critical thinking. To enjoy every day. To be happy with who they are, and how they look, and that to be different is not to be wrong. Yes, they can learn science, and history, and geography, and mathematics, and literacy, and literature, and art, and craft, whilst learning how to live their lives to the full. 

And they should learn that they are not, and never should be, living their lives as fodder for someone else's enrichment. 

Well, I told you it was a rant.


  1. The education system is entered into voluntarily. Of course there is more freedom on the margins of society, so for those who wish to opt out, feel free to.

  2. The children of parents who feel that they themselves are trapped in 'the system' are those most in need of imaginative teaching. Most people in this country wouldn't know what is meant by proactive parenting, they certainly can't do it! It's really easy when you're university educated, as were your parents, to be unaware of how passive some families are, and how low their expectations are, and how unable they are to find their own way out. Teaching children to think is surely a good start.

    1. University education was opened up to the masses to feed the machine. It is rather blinkered to think that 2 generations of it alters one's outlook. I don't view it as a sustainable process. My children only have one university educated parent and I think their chances of getting to university themselves rather slim, and I certainly think it would be better for them and society if they didn't go. I don't consider low academic expectations to be a bad thing. On the contrary in fact. As for teachers - you can't wave a magic wand and expect them to be imaginative. After only 2 years of it I can safely say that every ounce of enthusiasm will get sucked out eventually. How can we value teachers without milking the machine? You have to feed the machine to milk it....Teaching parents might be a better investment.