What is it about the education industry that getting the cohort of kids out of the system with a good grasp on the basics so they are useful either to employers or more realistically to higher institutions of education and themselves. Surely it cannot be so difficult. But it is and I hold this is due to a drastic lack of clarity about goals.
For a great many people the system works. But my God, when it doesn’t it surely doesn’t.
In the past there were relatively clear ideas about educational requirements and which system provided them best. The Tutor was seen as the man for the job. One on one tuition. Hothousing the little tyke with his Latin Greek Mathematics and those from a avant-garde family, a grounding in English French and German. This was described two thousand year ago and in some places is still in place, I suppose the nearest we have today would be the home-schooled. Next you have the Cathedral choir schools then the English Grammar schools. It is the latter two that are seen in every, without exception, area that the English stuck a flag. And was copied across Europe during the 19 century.
And then we come to the USA. Where they opened the possibility of education to all. This caused a drastic shift in policy in the older States when they realised that the US was striding ahead in every possible area that could be measured and in some that weren’t. All which could be laid at the foot of expanding education to all.
So, what then is the problem. Why are we not bringing kids from council estates to PhD levels of education in near on equal numbers as the private fee school. Remarkably, the costs most definitely do not reflect the abject failure of some schools. Nor are all the teachers in these failing schools at fault. The reality here is that they are far more dedicated to their job than most. It’s not the parents, for in all probability they were in the same situation a few years earlier and in some cases a very few years indeed. And it sure as hell is not the fault of the kids.
I hold that the Grammar school model was always problematic when applied State wide. The system could only be useful for a relatively small number of any given year. Leaving the remainder, sometimes 80%, to enter a manufacturing position. Nothing all that wrong with this as long as there are such positions in existence. But why was it only useful to such a tiny number. The answer is relatively simple, parents with expectations and the knowledge that education could help their kids.And with a willingness to give of their time for the homework AND then the extra bit of study. However, now for simple survival we need to bring our kids to much higher levels of educational attainment. It must become normal for MA/MSc to be part of the surname.
No longer can we afford the idiotic right/left BS with this issue. No longer can we have a situation where kids after progressing through very expensive schooling, cannot read. And I’m not fooling about this, it happens and far to regularly.
Unless we want the spectre of seeing India and China sending their call-centers to Cork, Dublin, Sidney, Toronto, London or LA. Then we had better quit making education a football of politics or class and wake up to the fact we are wasting talent.
This is the current vision of what’s required from those that call themselves the top universities in the UK, the Russell Group.