Is Education the answer to a lot of the world’s woes? Can it smooth out the bumps between the haves and have nots?
Will it happen? Is it realistic?
When I’ve asked people the question, ‘how would you bring peace and prosperity to Earth?‘ the basic question of The Explanation, the majority of answers revolve around education.
In the context of the book series The Explanation and this associated blog, the concept is to help readers focus on issues and look at some UNasked questions behind the scenes. The ‘Boom or Bust?’ is there to help readers consider whether ‘ child education’ (and we could add other types of education) is improving conditions or not. The idea is to back off and take a broader look at fundamental issues and see them in the framework of a Worldview. We’re all in this together.
Nelson Mandela had the highest esteem for learning:
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
In this interview on the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart, at about 13:15 minutes the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala said:
The solution to this problem (war, terrorism…) is education… going to school is not only learning about chemistry, physics and math… education also teaches you communication, how to live a life, history, how science works… they also learn about equality because they are provided benches, they sit together as equals; it teaches them to get along with others, how to accept each other’s language and traditions, religion, it also teaches us justice, it teaches us respect, how to live together…
That’s why I support the idea of sending children to school because it is the best way to fight terrorism and this is why I want your support for education, for girls, in the developing countries, Syria, Afghanistan, India… the problems are enormous but the solution is simple: Education.
Education going downhill
At the same time in our Western education system, we can read excerpts from articles like the following:
It is the first initiative Cameron has undertaken with the new education secretary, Nicky Morgan, drafted into the cabinet… Morgan said that it had become necessary to “go further” and target schools where she said “failure has become ingrained”. She added: “We will not tolerate failure, and where we find it, we will use tried and trusted interventions to turn things around in the interests of young people everywhere.”
Under the new model, the commissioners will be able to order immediate personnel changes to governing bodies, introduce standard punishment tariffs for bad behaviour, and bring in behaviour experts to implement new policies on classroom discipline, school uniform standards and homework. They would also have powers to make “immediate personnel changes to the governing body to improve the calibre of leadership and ensure they have the skills they need to improve”. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has largely been left to rate schools, but there was no systematic means of improving schools’ performance. It is not yet clear how the new commissioners would work with the under-fire Ofsted under the Conservative plans.
Poverty and education: a ‘lost decade’ for Spain’s children
A new Unicef report has highlighted the large increases in child poverty in southern Europe. One in three Spanish children live in poverty or at risk of social exclusion, and the school dropout rate is nearly 25%. the Unicef and PorCausa report warns of a ‘lost decade’ for Spain’s children- more than 2.7m Spanish children lived in poverty or at the risk of social exclusion in 2013.
Here are some The Explanation questions to mull over:
- We agree that mutual respect is needed, but who defines what ‘respect’ is?
- What are the criteria for ‘personnel changes?
- What are ‘standard punishment tariffs’ and how do we reach agreement on what type of punishment should be administered?
- What is the ‘norm’ for a ‘standard?
- What is ‘bad behavio(u)r?’
- What is a ‘behavio(u)r expert?’ I know what the words mean.
- Is there a point of ‘rating schools IF there’s no clear system to improve them? How are we going to do that?
- Normally, we in the ‘West’ have the financial means to educate our young. How did we get into these situations? And where are they headed?
Education going uphill
There are gains being made in education. People are contributing and making effort to improve the preparation of children for adult life. Flipped schooling is a ‘new way’ of teaching. This article gives a quick overview http://bit.ly/flipped-teaching The 3 links ‘below the fold’ under ‘From Tom’s Reading List are worth a look.
The long and short of it is that students are being given the means to study their lessons at home and time in school is devoted to doing homework and answering pupil’s questions. Students get to ‘practice, do their exercises’ in an atmosphere of supervision where they can obtain immediate help from the Professor and/or their classmates who have already mastered the problem. This leads to greater participation and cooperation at all levels.
Since most of us, if not all of us, are interested in ‘education’ in one form or another… as parents or supervisors, coaches, etc. I suggest you take a look at the Khan Academy: http://bit.ly/khan-flip
I draw your attention to the beginning of the 3rd paragraph: As a former hedge fund manager, (editor: he’s now in online education) Khan never expected to gain fame as a ‘visionary leader’.
He had vision… and has turned it into practical worldwide education. Hat’s off to people of this calibre.
Yes, we can look at just about any and every aspect of life and find upswings and downswings. The second book of The Explanation series is entitled ‘Audit of the Universe‘. I audit numerous and various aspects of life on Earth. Is the proverbial half-full, half-empty glass getting fuller or emptier? It’s your call.
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