Its make-or-break time for education
The day is rapidly approaching when we must decide what we want from our schools, bright, self – confident, curious young people, or an elite of highy intelligent, highly focused, semi – autistic nerds and an army of unthinking automatons, the Epsilon semi morons of Aldous Huxley’s brave New World.
I came across a link on Scribd.com a few of days ago. It captures very well the state of education in many countries, where government schools providing free education are inadequate and quality of education is extremely poor.
In India, where the writer is based, the government is going berserk to enroll children in schools, push for ever improving examination pass rates and entry into higher education institutes. This has resulted, the article said, in quality suffering badly. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012 published by Pratham, a non-government organization. The university enrollment rate has risen but so has the dropout rate. Over 75.2% of all children enrolled in Standard 5 in government schools could not do simple division problems.
And you thought it was just Britain or the USA (80% of my traffic is from those nations)where dumbing down is at the heart of education policy?
Really the focus is on the wrong end of the education system. People do not need a university degree to be a box schlepper or burger flipper but they do need basic literacy and numeracy skills and a cultural grounding to train for a practical trade, work in an office or shop or get a job in the service industries.
Primary education is vital for the inclusive economic well being of a country, and for the individual. If you havent got primary education because there were no schools or you went to a school that was more interested in teaching diversity awareness or civil rights studies you dont have an initial platform to stand on. Primary education is the chief source of social mobility but it is increasingly inaccessible to astonishingly large proportion of the poor.
Education, one of the basic rights of an individual according to international law, has become a distant dream for many; quality education has become a niche product accessible only for an affluent elite. This has resulted in an extremely high skill deficit and the ridiculous stuation of nations like britain, Frane, USA and Canada having to import skilled labour, plumbers, electricians, engineering machine operators and so on, from developing nations, creating social malaise both in the developed nation that must support a growing pool of unemployed social science, media studies and graphic design graduates and the poor country that sees it’s economic future heading for the west.
The OECD projects that India will produce 24 million graduates by the end of this decade, however:
“… an earlier survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) found that only 39.5% of all graduates in India were viewed as employable
only 10% of graduates from business schools in India manage to get hired …”
A study by Aspiring Minds showed that India produces more than 500,000 engineering graduates a year, but barely 3% of an assessed 55,000 graduates were viewed as ready to be employed without extra training.
The problem is not just in India or developing countries; Harvard Business Review estimates that by 2020, the worldwide shortage of highly skilled, college-educated workers could reach 40 million.. Even America is neither producing enough college graduates to sustain a robust workforce, nor fulfilling its national promise of economic opportunity for all, writes Daniel Greenstein.
There are more young people in the world now than ever before, and most of them are concentrated in developing countries. The world only need so many ‘science’ graduates, the focus in education needs to switch to quality of basic education and skills training for youth that can lead to meaningful employment.
Two major steps are required:
Within the next decade all children in developed and developing nations should complete primary and lower secondary education which enables them to meet measurable learning standards and acquire relevant skills so they may become responsible, productive members of society.
Governments should conduct a skills survey and create a detailed estimate of the skills they require. Based on these needs, they should reconstruct education system to meet the needs of society and not the needs of academic and bureaucratic empire builders.
Public-private partnerships and participation of youth in policy decisions regarding education and skills development, the mantras of the left, are politically correct bollocks and should be forgotten. I totally disagree with education ‘expert’ Pauline Rose who writes that Education needs its Bill Gates As my title states “Education is about quality not quantity” and when academic elitists start eulogising people like Gates we should remind them that Microsoft was the corporation that made ‘not Fit For Purpose’ an acceptable level of quality for goods sold. Other lefties plead education needs funds and equality. Well so long as equality means equality of opportunity and not affirmative action to award qualifications on the basis of ethnicity, sexual orientation and home background, fine.
As for funds, I think of the intelligence to be found among people of my parents generation, those born between World War 1 and world War 2. Many of them left school at 14 or 15, having studied in poorly equipped classrooms with few trendy, politically correct teaching aids and often a shortage of text books, few went on to attend university, yet it was their generation that gave us the great advances in health, technology, living standards and workplace conditions. A look at the wold now, with its emphasis on examination statistics, targets and league tables for school results, and it’s output of semi – literate idiots suggests the more we spend on education the less education pupils get.