President Hollande, infuriated by the decline in the educational rating of France in the OECD league tables is to take a hand in the countries’ schooling programme. Headteachers, who have used their initiative to encourage learning are to be instructed stop and adopt corrective measures centring on languages. All sounds very familiar, just substitute UK for France and the clamour by political leaders who see the decline in educational standards as their time to interfere becomes a common theme.
As ever the actions are reactive. The changes in the social life of French and British schoolchildren over the past 10 years are immense. In just one generation technical developments have surpassed all that was held as the standard. Maintaining kids interest is paramount and the guys at the sharp end in teaching know all too well what works, what does not and where certain issues have become insurmountable. A proactive relationship with the Department for Education is vital to develop curriculum and teaching techniques that are fit for purpose in modern society. Presidents and Prime Ministers should enter the fray with extreme caution and ask the question why have the standards in the UK and France slipped so badly before they go in to bat.
We commented on the singular educational success achieved in Singapore along with the concerns that this is breeding a nation that cannot think outside of the box. Academic achievement does not necessarily indicate future potential. Whilst Singapore investigates ways to stimulate entrepreneurship, design and engineering skills we read the fantastic story of the UK school leaver who had failed all exams but developed a way of bypassing the schools’ server to allow him free access to the web. This capability was developed after he left school, the facility having some commercial value. His company “HideMyAss” – HMA found favour with customers wishing to access servers without them being tracked by the like of search engines. He has just sold the company for £40m. Not bad for a 26 year old with no academic qualifications but a head for an opportunity.