Total marks to George Monbiot for his critique of the English college examination system (England’s punitive exam process is only good at 1 detail: preserving privilege, 27 April). He asks what would a reasonable, rounded 21st-century education appear like.
A single answer would be to appear at Finland, where by there are no examinations prior to college leaving and no league tables. All evaluation is instructor-based, geared to guiding further more learning. Academics love superior experienced autonomy, grounded in their have schooling to master’s level. The Finnish process is avowedly egalitarian, with the intention of minimising social inequalities. All pupils receive no cost college meals. And guess what? Finland outperforms the Uk not only in terms of wellbeing and life pleasure of 15-calendar year-olds, but also in their overall performance in the OECD Pisa exams, based on looking through, arithmetic and science.
The English education and learning system is primarily based on 3 Cs: levels of competition, coercion and cramming. The Finnish system rests on 3 diverse Cs: collaboration, communication and conceptualisation. Finnish schooling is not ideal, and it is not the only route to superior Pisa efficiency. But the OECD is in no question what a 21st-century instruction demands: “When lecturers sense a sense of ownership over their classrooms, when students experience a sense of ownership more than their mastering, that is when studying for the … info age can just take put.” There is an substitute, if we so select.
Honorary professor, University of East Anglia
When again, George Monbiot has highlighted a significant flaw in United kingdom modern society and the purpose tests enjoy in preserving privilege. It is, of course, possible to bypass the system, as my possess expertise has revealed. Acquiring left state university at age 17 without having any A-stages, I then managed to re-enter increased schooling by attaining office skills to get a BSc and PhD, and became a professor at the College of Nottingham.
The problem of regurgitating facts in tests in no way served me. But acquiring a far more rounded instruction supplied me with a significantly much more supportive frame of mind in training learners, with any luck , assisting several to thoroughly arrive at their probable, outside of the usual requirements of exam grades.
Dr Michael Symonds
Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire
There are motives other than those George Monbiot mentions that make clear the government’s drive for introducing a Gradgrind education and learning program. Minimizing the curriculum to quickly quantifiable aspects helps make it quick for the authorities to manage education and learning and to make sure educational deviancy is eliminated. Excellent educational facilities are these that match up to conditions decided by the govt.
Margaret Thatcher’s distress at the wrong type of folks managing our children’s education is no more time a trouble. Curriculum and instructing procedures are established by ministers. Any university that does not satisfy the imposed requirements will be deemed failing and shut. Instructional deviancy, or a lot more correctly, impartial pondering, is eliminated from the procedure.
This program also offers loads of “red meat” to be thrown to the media. An arbitrary change in the policies tends to make it easy to locate faculties that are failing. There is nothing far more probably to thrill the rightwing media than a tough minister cracking down on errant schools.