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General Election Needs A Party That Can Educate

Opinion / January 17, 2015

There is some concern that the UK educational standard is slipping further down the international league table. Languishing in the mid twenties slot in the world is no great achievement. Yet no one in government has grasped the nettle and come up with a radical plan to move the UK into the top five for quality of education.

Whilst the world has moved forwards in technology and medical science our educational prowess has languished. Not the fault of the manufacturers of teaching resources. These have moved on immeasurably tracking with the curriculum they have captured the essence of modern teaching resources using technology as well as tried and tested pedagogy. Fun games abound to help the teaching process in the classroom and at home. But these have stalled in their application. The recession and government edicts have impacted massively on the school and home budgets and the use of these teaching resources have been hit hard.

Technology has also played a part in the commercial balance of providing a constant flow of teaching resources both fit for purpose and commercially viable. Some 10 years ago there were a host of educational software designers developing ingenious and fun approaches to learning. These have dwindled from a torrent to a trickle, the sales of conventional DVD software has all but disappeared replaced by online or downloaded software. This has sting in the tail; whilst the bigger players could keep pace with technology with software being constantly tailored to suit the latest operating system, as overall demand fell and many of the creative developers found the volume too small to be economically viable.

Virtual Learning Environments, introduced with much acclaim to streamline and enhance the software access for schools and groups of schools has a downside. It meant the bigger suppliers were able to amass a series of software titles sold under blanket licenses that were never to be repeated. The sale of the single title disappeared and the range of available titles from smaller suppliers diminished. The next stage in the equation is the emergence and domination by  global players lead by Microsoft and Apple.

The quality of teaching has also suffered. Once the domain of a skilled resource that commanded respect social changes in modern society have diminished the role and questioned their authority. Constant changes in the curriculum and educational initiatives that have waxed and waned have achieved little but to demoralise all but the strongest teachers. Yet the utilisation of the skilled teacher coupled to modern technology has failed to emerge. Instead of promoting extended access to the most skilled maths teachers who can enthuse, entertain and enhance the learning of large groups of children through TV links, many children can still pass through their entire secondary schooling without a teacher holding the requisite qualification in maths.

Recent statistics reveal the appalling selection bias of universities who have all but abandoned applications of children from the north despite their qualifications. The predisposition of Laser (London and South East Region) in the economics of the UK  is creating a hugely unethical situation in education.

As election fever builds and politicians launch manifestos that lack conviction, look too good to be true or need the GDP of a small country to implement, we are required to sit back in hope. The ails of education and the NHS feature large yet no panacea is ever offered. No one party has the commitment, strength or vision to say they will introduce a root and branch radical reform to educate our children to meet the needs of our modern society.

The criticism of the current system is legend. Secretaries of State for Education from the various parties have been, dabbled and left leaving a trail of destruction. Time now for the guys both in government and opposition to take a long hard look in the mirror and witness what is the true face of failure. We need a decisive, ingenious secretary state for education in political party that can re-programme the entire schooling process, along with a prime minister who will support, not interfere. We certainly don’t need a Minister who takes on the job and immediately throws out the International GCSE in a world that is now global. Or perhaps no one told her. There is a massive job ahead for somebody for the UK educational programme is horribly broken and desperately needs fixing, “Bro”.

 


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