May 14, 2006

Boris and ME on Higher Education

Was alerted by a (well?)wisher to Johnson's blog. Although sadly not written by him it is a treasure trove of witticisms, insight and most of all a vision that Boris has of a better Britain. The following is typical:

"I agree passionately and vehemently with the assertion that higher education is of great value to the economy….we will defend and vindicate higher education irrespective of how much it delivers to the UK economy because we believe it is a wonderful thing and an end in itself – and a great and civilising force that does immeasurable good to the young people of this country. It makes them – on average – richer, healthier…so well done, Universities UK."

What eloquence. Every sentence carefully crafted to contribute to an irrefutable logical progression which showboats not only Johnson's humanism but his grasp of what really matters. To Blair and Brown higher ed is just a force towards equality: the more we get into higher ed the more we can erode class differences and create a pool of future Labour voters. To achieve this they have dumbed down exams to much that most of the state school freshers at Cambridge can't even add up.

What is worse education is designed to bring about conformity and homogeneise us into people incapable of independent thought and trained to never question anything told by a figure in authority (aka Blair, Brown et al). What use is democracy if the electorate are incapable of independent thought or scrutiny of the government's performance? When we are so useless with figures that we are oblivious to the lies, lies and damned statistics Labour manafacture each day, and incapable of realising just how much Brown is screwing us with his armoury of stealth tax increases and slow erosion of every single incentive one might have to save or invest: thereby creating a nation totally and utterly dependent on the state.

Like communist Russia centralisation and targets have taken on a new meaning under New Labour. it is only a matter of time before they produce five year plans for just about every issue on the political agenda. Everything is instrumental to some target, helped by Labour's myriads incentives rewarding those who meet the targets and punishing those who fall short. These targets however seem to change every second day and worse seem to get even more and more separated from what really matters.

Take education again. Our target is to get 50% of the nation into university. As such we make exams easier, because that is the quick fix and let the busy Labour press office release statements such as "record A level grades" etc etc which the stupid tabloids lap up.
They kid people into thinking they are smart and owe it all to Labour and their "enlightened" education policies. They raise the aspirations of the graduates who fill South Bank and De Montford making them think that not only are they in a decent university but can realistically expect to compete for graduate jobs (newsflash: both of those are POLYTECHN!CS). Of course they can't and end up spending three years going into huge debt only to end up doing the same job flipping burgers they could have done at 18.

The worst thing though is this belief exams are the be–all and end–all. We teach students to pass exams based on highly prescriptive syllabi and like Gradgrind in "Hard Times" believe that cramming a kids head with facts is education. Poppycock. Education is about teaching people how to think and understand the world we live in. it is about planting the seed of intellectual curiosity in the hope it will blossom and bear fruit. it is about realising the tranquility that can only come from a well–ordered mind and the synergy , that exists between a well–trained mind, imagination and a fountain of acquired knowledge, that is responsible for the development of genius.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I agree completely. I'd also say the majority of my education here at Warwick has not come from the lecture hall and exam at all, but instead from the experiences that being here and being involved gives.

    14 May 2006, 05:09

  2. Yeah, couldn't agree more. The 50% target thing is a joke – is it not blindingly obvious that 50% of the population just aren't suited to going to university? Not to the Dear Leader and our political masters, unfortunately!

    There's really no shame in being a plumber or a mechanic… you'll probably end up earning more that way anyway.

    14 May 2006, 11:17

  3. Tom Cock

    Matteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee blog more!

    17 Jul 2006, 11:03

  4. Tom Cock

    Matteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee please blog more or I will never speak to you again :)

    10 Aug 2006, 14:33

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