Education: A right, not a privilege

Posted by Glen on Oct 18, 2015

Sir Ken Robinson puts forward the argument that the education system we have today prides itself too much on whether you’re an academic or not, the way they teach you stems from industrialization and we now have psychological illnesses that define distraction, all in all a pretty awful education system for those who learn in it.

I believe the biggest problem in all of this is the sheer ludicrous attempt at economizing something as free and as intrinsically human as learning. When Robinson puts forward the argument that today’s leaders are trying to monetarise education in a way they can teach as many as they can for as cheap as possible, you’re already creating problems. By assigning price and labels to education, you go backwards not forward and move towards arguing whether individuals deserve education based on their ability, or their background, which as Robinson said, has led to an isolation of millions of students who find school something not worth doing. To me this is perhaps the most upsetting fact of the way we’ve tried to keep the same education system going for over 100 years, and have failed to address the elephant in the room, not everyone gets work from education.

It’s a well-known fact that millions of degrees are being wasted with their graduates performing minimum wage jobs, but this isn’t because it’s their choice to perform underpaid jobs, but instead because as a country the UK has now more graduates than not. This over-saturation has led to a world in which despite the pursuit of education being something you now have to pay for after college, you also have a worse chance of finding a job afterwards. So naturally it comes as no surprise that current students don’t want to go to university, that current students find education boring and tedious. Something needs to be done!

I believe the problem comes from two different approaches, and I write this in the curious position of a social scientist, and a trainee teacher. To me the overzealous attempt to understand ADHD and impose medically limiting drugs to those who fail to conform to an archaic classroom doctrine seems outrageous. Despite some psychologists arguing that ADHD is something physical and genetic, most psychologists today argue that ADHD is a simple way of maintaining a level of control in a classroom setting to promote successful teaching on a large scale. Ignoring the fact that students are being perpetually bombarded by information in a way that makes them distracted and less inclined to work. The other is a political attitude that seems hell bent on making life for those younger than us unbearable and all about finding your place in society, and staying there. Forever.

Why on earth we have an education secretary promoting STEM subjects as the best option for students to find a job in, when we have the country’s biggest deficit in STEM teachers seems mad. We should be promoting education as a form of self-discovery, not as a route to a job, it should be about allowing students to challenge and push forward the boundaries of education in their own creative ways. Everyone conforms, it’s those that don’t that change the world.

1 Comment

  1. pepsmccrea
    26 October 2015

    Great first thinkpiece. You have clearly engaged with the Ken Robinson video, and have made some helpful links with relevant other ideas.

    In your next thinkpiece, make sure you consider the article as well as the video…

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