CBI is right - education is about more than results and rote learning

Reaction to speech by CBI President Paul Drechsler

By Richard Fraser, Editor

CBI President Paul Drechsler CBE is calling on policymakers to "make education in England about more than results and rote learning, and prioritise teaching that encourages thoughts, questions, creativity and teamworking"

Many of his comments chime with Voice's views on politics and the curriculum.

In his speech, Mr Drechsler says:

“Teachers’ jobs are not just difficult because the world is changing, it’s also made more difficult by years of moving the goal posts in public policy.  Those failures have culminated in today’s debate between the extremes of rigorous testing on the one hand, and the rounded development of a young person on the other."

"End the parade of government announcements that make a good headline but don’t make a jot of difference on the big issues."

“Let’s dump the ideology - no more fixation on school structures and exam reform....Perhaps our politicians are too entrenched. Perhaps the ideological commitments hold too firm a grip.  Perhaps old habits die hard.  We should take ownership - let’s persuade our politicians to set up a new Education Commission. This Commission could bypass the turf wars.  It should have a broad membership - educational leadership, businesses, young people, parents and politicians – people who understand education and want our country to succeed.

"Let’s start basing decisions in education on the evidence.  To create consensus on what we want from our schools and colleges and to give them the support, encouragement and resources they need to deliver. And let the examination system accredit this – not drive it.”

Voice also believes in a collaborative approach ("The development of education policy should be about collaboration").

Commenting in 2014, General Secretary Deborah Lawson said:

Education has been a political football for too long. It is time to take the party politics, the personality politics and the confrontation out of education.

“The development of education policy should be about collaboration – which makes implementation easier and more effective – rather than a ‘them and us’, ‘for us or against us’ approach, with politicians imposing their own personal vision of education, based on their own personal experience, and scoring political points by denouncing those with different views."

.On the purpose of education, Voice has taken the view ("Does it matter if a degree is relevant") that

“...education should be about expanding the horizons of the mind, building the capacity for critical analysis, and enabling students to experience a world beyond their reach...[This] flies in the face of many current political and managerial statements about securing the future of the UK economy, or the need to justify the acquisition of knowledge on the basis of its commercial value.”

Dr Thusha Rajendran is correct (The Conversation, "Stuck in the past: the UK needs to produce creative thinkers not exam-passing machines") when he calls for the “new da Vincis and Michelangelos”, the new breed of “individuals who are both scientist and artist”, the “creative visionaries” who are needed to help us navigate and thrive in the future.

If, through our education system, the Government is serious about social mobility and ensuring that pupils leave education as creative, critical thinkers able to apply their subject knowledge – not only for their benefit but that of society and the economy – it must not restrict the curriculum and teaching, or ‘measures’ by which pupils and schools are judged, to a narrow range of academic subjects.  

Do let us know your views...


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