Entire Generation Face Suspect Educational Programme

Opinion / March 1, 2016

The educational programme is failing an entire generation. With another school year coming to a close, the long hoped for, and much needed educational reforms, have not materialised and are still on the drawing board. Systemically incapable of far-reaching reform, it may only be possible to improve the educational institutions with sustained external assistance from international development partners.

Initially we could read this and weep, but the observations above were not being made about the UK, they summerise a review of the current educational system in Thailand. Relief perhaps, but then the realisation that it also accurately summerises the position in England. Perhaps the worst case scenario is to leave the major reform required to our state primary and secondary schools to politicians. Successive Secretaries of state for education have been appointed with little or no experience in the discipline they are to govern. No one in their right mind would appoint a candidate into a role of such fundamentally strategic importance with no experience. A job advert and job description that reads ‘senior executive required to head up a major government department with implications for the future of the entire UK. No previous experience necessary.’

But even this amazing state of affairs is currently being trumped. The cabinet minister appointed as secretary of state for education has a myriad of other duties that act as a significant detraction. Right now we can safely assume the key focus of Nicky Morgan has shifted to the pending EU membership referendum. The result, a cohort of school children will pass through the educational system emerging with qualifications achieved from a broken system. Just consider what they may have achieved. And in the context of the referendum we will need future leaders who can strongly govern either way; in or out. As Sir Micheal Wilshaw commented recently, the Northern Powerhouse, a plan independent of any referendum,  is doomed if we do not equip school leavers with the academic ability to support such an initiative.

Thailand is not the only country to be worried about their schooling standards. Perhaps we too need some outside help from overseas. At least it should be a tried and tested procedure rather yet another educational initiative dreamt up by a minister with no experience.



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