Entire marks to George Monbiot for his critique of the English university examination process (England’s punitive exam process is only very good at a person thing: preserving privilege, 27 April). He asks what would a fair, rounded 21st-century training glance like.
A person solution would be to seem at Finland, the place there are no tests in advance of university leaving and no league tables. All evaluation is trainer-based, geared to guiding more mastering. Academics take pleasure in substantial specialist autonomy, grounded in their own education to master’s degree. The Finnish process is avowedly egalitarian, with the goal of minimising social inequalities. All learners obtain totally free college meals. And guess what? Finland outperforms the United kingdom not only in terms of wellbeing and everyday living pleasure of 15-12 months-olds, but also in their general performance in the OECD Pisa tests, dependent on reading through, mathematics and science.
The English education method is based mostly on a few Cs: levels of competition, coercion and cramming. The Finnish procedure rests on a few distinct Cs: collaboration, communication and conceptualisation. Finnish education and learning is not ideal, and it is not the only route to substantial Pisa overall performance. But the OECD is in no question what a 21st-century education calls for: “When instructors truly feel a feeling of possession more than their school rooms, when pupils sense a perception of possession around their finding out, that is when learning for the … facts age can just take put.” There is an alternate, if we so decide on.
Honorary professor, University of East Anglia
At the time once again, George Monbiot has highlighted a key flaw in Uk society and the role exams engage in in preserving privilege. It is, of program, doable to bypass the technique, as my personal practical experience has revealed. Possessing remaining state faculty at age 17 without having any A-amounts, I then managed to re-enter higher schooling by attaining workplace skills to get a BSc and PhD, and became a professor at the University of Nottingham.
The obstacle of regurgitating facts in tests in no way helped me. But having a extra rounded education and learning delivered me with a significantly more supportive mind-set in instructing college students, ideally serving to numerous to thoroughly get to their probable, past the ordinary standards of test grades.
Dr Michael Symonds
Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire
There are good reasons other than individuals George Monbiot mentions that clarify the government’s want for introducing a Gradgrind training program. Minimizing the curriculum to easily quantifiable components can make it uncomplicated for the federal government to manage instruction and to make sure academic deviancy is removed. Excellent educational institutions are those people that match up to criteria determined by the government.
Margaret Thatcher’s distress at the erroneous sort of persons controlling our children’s training is no for a longer time a trouble. Curriculum and teaching solutions are identified by ministers. Any college that doesn’t meet up with the imposed requirements will be considered failing and shut. Educational deviancy, or additional the right way, impartial wondering, is eliminated from the procedure.
This method also provides a great deal of “red meat” to be thrown to the media. An arbitrary change in the procedures helps make it simple to obtain faculties that are failing. There is very little extra probably to thrill the rightwing media than a difficult minister cracking down on errant educational institutions.