Full marks to George Monbiot for his critique of the English college examination system (England’s punitive exam program is only good at one factor: preserving privilege, 27 April). He asks what would a truthful, rounded 21st-century education and learning seem like.
One remedy would be to glimpse at Finland, where there are no tests ahead of university leaving and no league tables. All evaluation is teacher-dependent, geared to guiding even further learning. Teachers take pleasure in higher expert autonomy, grounded in their have education to master’s stage. The Finnish program is avowedly egalitarian, with the intention of minimising social inequalities. All college students get free school meals. And guess what? Finland outperforms the United kingdom not only in conditions of wellbeing and existence pleasure of 15-calendar year-olds, but also in their overall performance in the OECD Pisa checks, dependent on studying, mathematics and science.
The English instruction program is based on three Cs: opposition, coercion and cramming. The Finnish system rests on a few unique Cs: collaboration, communication and conceptualisation. Finnish education is not best, and it is not the only route to substantial Pisa effectiveness. But the OECD is in no doubt what a 21st-century instruction calls for: “When lecturers sense a feeling of possession in excess of their lecture rooms, when students truly feel a sense of possession around their understanding, that is when understanding for the … information and facts age can choose put.” There is an different, if we so pick.
Honorary professor, University of East Anglia
Once all over again, George Monbiot has highlighted a major flaw in United kingdom society and the position exams participate in in preserving privilege. It is, of system, probable to bypass the process, as my own experience has demonstrated. Owning still left point out faculty at age 17 without any A-ranges, I then managed to re-enter greater education and learning by attaining place of work qualifications to obtain a BSc and PhD, and grew to become a professor at the College of Nottingham.
The obstacle of regurgitating details in tests in no way helped me. But acquiring a much more rounded training offered me with a considerably far more supportive attitude in teaching students, with any luck , supporting many to absolutely get to their likely, outside of the standard conditions of exam grades.
Dr Michael Symonds
Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire
There are reasons other than those George Monbiot mentions that make clear the government’s wish for introducing a Gradgrind instruction process. Minimizing the curriculum to simply quantifiable elements helps make it easy for the govt to regulate schooling and to guarantee instructional deviancy is eliminated. Excellent educational facilities are those that match up to criteria decided by the govt.
Margaret Thatcher’s distress at the erroneous type of men and women controlling our children’s education and learning is no for a longer period a issue. Curriculum and teaching approaches are identified by ministers. Any faculty that does not meet up with the imposed standards will be deemed failing and closed. Academic deviancy, or additional properly, impartial pondering, is eradicated from the process.
This system also gives a lot of “red meat” to be thrown to the media. An arbitrary improve in the policies tends to make it quick to uncover schools that are failing. There is almost nothing extra most likely to thrill the rightwing media than a challenging minister cracking down on errant educational facilities.