Saturday, 7 January 2017

A Change in Paradigm to Education

Recent news of MPs calling for a ‘big stick’ approach of schools offering substandard careers advice should be downgraded in Ofsted inspections I fear will continue to place misguided advice on equipping children for the future. 

The problem lies within how we view the role of education, the current thinking driving the advice given to school leavers. If we step back for a moment and think, what is the purpose of education, surely it is to equip children, the future generation of how to take their place in the world.  

The challenge I believe lies in changing the paradigm we have about education and how we view success.  The education system we have today, in the 21st century remains largely on the original Victorian model arising from the industrial revolution, based on the belief one can only succeed with an academic based capability.

Yes, there are the fundamentals in academic subjects needed, the 3-Rs amongst other traditional subjects; however, there are many examples of “successful” academics whose certificates don their walls gathering dust who don’t go on to succeed. 

Equally, there are many examples of non-academics who do succeed, prominent examples include Sir Richard Branson (dyslexic), Lord Alan Sugar, Baroness Mone, and a new non-academic success in the making Ryan Longmuir.

If we are to equip our children for the best start to their adult life, we need to think what education will serve our children best? 

In addition to the study of traditional subject’s education also needs to include in-depth study (not one-off half-day modules) of Life Skills such as Financial Management (1 in 4 people today are in debt) and, the study of Personal Self Development to learn how to become the person you want to be and achieve the things you want to achieve.

Careers advice at school will remain woefully lacking while government led initiatives continue to reward school performance only on the number of A levels and league tables. In the main, this is what drives decisions on what career advice is given to children.

A quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, US Supreme Court Justice, from the 1800s who knew a thing or two, continues to resonate today:

“The greatest tragedy in life, (is not that you didn’t get 3 A*s) but that so many men and women go to their graves with the music still in them”.

If you were 16 today, what careers advice would help you?