Reasons to be cheerful-an occasional series

11 03 2009

When I wrote in my blog that the future is contained within the seeds of the present I was challenged by a friend to come up with some ideas of what exactly is happening now that could turn into something positive as the recession becomes resolved. Crystal ball gazing is not very productive but I think there are identifiable currents which have the potential to become significant.

I would add however that nothing is predetermined and the subjective factor,ie what you and I do to make things change, is the most important aspect of the problem at present. So with that caveat out of the way I invite you to join with me in identifying potentially positive outcomes from the recession.

Just to kick things off, I would argue that three developments in education have the potential to become positive. One is the increase in applications for teaching science, maths and engineering. Without getting hung up on whether the UK needs to reindustrialise there is no doubt that maths and science are the building blocks for any kind of productive future economy.

 Two is the plan to fast track people from the commercial sector into teaching .  Running a school requires many skills but a key one is leadership from the top. It is unlikely that any school can be succesful without a good head teacher and strong management skills are central to this.

Three is the decline in private schools. This may mean that more middle class parents will have to help tackle the problems of the state sector rather than trying their utmost to escape from it.

None of this of course will of necessity change the drift of education away from high academic standards,which remains a severe problem. But the renewed focus on the need for innovation in the UK may help to focus us on the fact that world beating innovation requires highly skilled and well educated people to deliver it.

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