Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Education, Education, Education.

You might remember this battle cry from Tony Blair when he was elected in 1997. 

I read a really disturbing article in the Sunday Times this week which I think will have a huge impact on the future of the United Kingdom and that of our children.

On Wednesday this week the OECD ( Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development) will publish its global survey of 65 countries regarding educational standards. What this report will say is that the UK has made no progress from where it stood 4 years ago. 

It may surprise many that the UK are 25th placed for reading, 28th for maths and 16th for science. The counties who are leading are China, South Korea and Singapore. All countries who already have thriving economies and are developing an exceptional workforce for the future.

The UK is sitting behind Estonia and Poland.

The Labour governemnt did spend billions on education as well a many new school buildings however clearly this has had no impact on outcomes.

There is an arrogance in the UK which goes back to the days of the British Empire. We believe we are better than everyone  else in the world. It's a very similar situation to the English football team. Every time there is a world cup we truly believe we can win when in reality we don't even get to the qualifying rounds.

It is similar when we compete on the global stage. Not only can we not compete with those a the top of the league such  as China or South Korea they also have excellent education which will only make them stronger in the future.

In the decades ahead the gap will continue to grow and we struggle to be competitive in a global market. Our young people are ill prepared and unaware of the world they coete within. 

I am worried for my children's generation but even more so for our children's children. My generation has benefitted  from the last and have been supported by a fantastic welfare system. Unfortunately we have spent the money and we can no longer afford to provide the level of support we are used to.

What we must do is become a global power again and that can only be achieved by developing an education system which produce the best minds on the planet.

I don't see this as something to score political points over as it is too important. What I do know is what the previous government tried has failed. The league tables are evidence enough.

The issues are not only financial but also cultural.

In the UK it is forbidden to criticise  nurses or teachers. Teachers must take note of where we area in the league tables and accept it's not good enough. 

If we were a football club,we are languishing in the lower divisions and not improving. In football we would sack the manager and invest in training and coaching. If we are going to change something we need to change something.

Parents also have to take responsibility and need to invest time in their children and support schools.

This is so important as we all must play our part. The previous government thought the answer lay in new buildings. Clearly spending billions is not enough. What we need is lots of incremental change. Government, parents and teaches all need accept its not good enough.

We mist get away from blame and accept our system is not good enough and has to improve. We have to accept we may upset some people along the way but I believe this is a price worth paying as without change the future looks bleak for future generations in non league football.

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