Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More waffle

Exciting news on the education front as the BBC World Service announces:
Businesses are joining forces with governments and international groups to try to meet a pledge to provide education for all children by 2015.

The Partnerships for Education was announced in Brussels by the World Economic Forum and Unesco.
In theory this means more of our tax money going to transnational organizations to distribute as they see fit to schools in the developing world, as long, one presumes, as they teach what UNESCO approves of.
In Britain, school pupils are to work with the charity World Vision to help less fortunate children overseas.

Schools linked with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will take part in a year-long campaign to raise funds to build schools in India and Kenya and provide resources for schools in other places.
I have no wish to carp and I agree that children in all sorts of countries should have the opportunity (not the right) to have basic and more than basic education. But I do question whether the NAHT, which is presiding over a disintegrating education system in this country is quite the right organization to deal with this matter.

In fact, I have an idea. Given that we now have a situation where children and young adults who arrive from other countries (including India and Kenya) speak English better, know English grammar better, can do maths much better and probably know more history; given that science and engineering departments in this country face the choice of either recruiting students largely from other countries or lowering their entrance standards could the "Global Alliance to Educate All" not start in this country? What about our children? Should they not have the opportunity to receive basic education?

Furthermore, is the pattern of government provided "free" schooling, which, is presumably what is meant by all this waffle, with no apparent link between those who pay and those who receive, quite the right thing to offer and, possibly, foist on developing countries? There is, after all, reasonable evidence that when people pay, however little, when the schools are independent of bureaucracy and run for the benefit of the pupils rather than the educational establishment, in those cases education is valued considerably more.


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