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We Need A Tim Berners-Lee In Education

Opinion / March 20, 2014

One of the themes that constantly haunt the world of education is despite our teaching resources being around for millennia we still have not perfected an educational system that fit for purpose in 2014.

Children have been born and educated in the UK since the year dot. Times and techniques have changed but somehow we have failed to maintain a consistent standard that have progressed with the times. It is a concern that in 2014 we continue to slip down the OECD international educational league table. Languishing in a position now in the mid twenties we have lost pace and initiative.

Although the OECD may seem a distant measure and the UK school league table would be a better gauge we are now operating in a global market and need to readjust our sights to match what is happening overseas. It presents sad reading.

In the time since 1990 when Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web this far-reaching development has revolutionised the world of communications. Entire industries have emerged with the www. at its core. Over the same timescale a succession of Secretaries of State For Education have been, meddled and gone. Education appears to have been gasping for air as it desperately tried to hold its head above water.

There have been many educational initiatives, some good, some bad. Most attract abject criticism from the very teaching resources destined to implement them. This has led to frustration and stress amongst the teaching profession that is a major concern for any of us looking in. Children pass through the system over the 10 years of their normal schooling journey from five to 15 years old. Those who attend the better schools stand a good change of thriving in the outside world. But the majority will suffer the fate of an indifferent education that pitches up in the middle twenties position in the OECD league.

We have seen comparisons with Scandinavia and the Far East who are leading the international league table and have taken measures to adopt their systems and procedures. Maths teachers from the Far East are being invited to teach in the UK to improve our standards. This follows a trend for overseas excellence to be imported to control UK entities. Some of our railways systems are to be potentially run by companies from Hong Kong, Germany and France; our utility providers are predominately foreign based. And German or Indian companies own the best names in car manufacture. This may create efficiency but is an indictment of our UK based facilities.

Time we emulated the success of Tim Berners-Lee in the world of education. We need focal investment to produce an entirely new form of education that will provide the opportunity for our children to learn in a fundamentally new way, because the current system is very broken.


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