Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Here, there and everywhere

Term is now properly underway. I know the impression which many people have of students is that they never do a blind bit of work. The same, it is sometimes thought, applies to their lecturers. I can assure you that the latter assertion is totally untrue, even if the former has some merit to it! This week I have been quite literally here, there and everywhere: teaching, talking, clarifying, liaising, photocopying and generally trying to cast light into minds that are usually murkier than a Chilean mine shaft. Sweat of one's brow and all that.

I had a conversation yesterday which took me back to my thoughts of Tuesday. My interlocutor could not believe the state of education today; the levels of sheer pig ignorance which many attain before entering university is, he feels, startling. I concurred wholly with this observation, but it only underlined what I was trying to say about the Browne Inquiry.

The point is this: education is a function of culture. You cannot separate the two and it's as simple as that. And that is why it is no surprise that if we in the UK live in a consumerist culture and economy, where one in eight pennies spent goes through the coffers of a certain supermarket according to which 'Every little helps', then we will produce a supermarket kind of education system with all its conveniences and inconveniences.

Everything is consumer driven. That is why we are consuming everything, even each other. The only thing odd about Browne's Inquiry was that he tried to spin his suggestions as a 'revolutionary new system', whereas in fact they are the product of a logic which extends from the Bargain Basement to Harvey Nichols.

But why do I get the impression I'm talking to myself on this one?


Speaking of being here, there and everywhere, I'm heading north this weekend for a grand pre-nuptial pow-wow of the parents. I think I might just need a little music to soothe the nerves ;-)

1 comment:

GOR said...

It would appear Ches that “casting light into murky minds” is not confined to the UK. For some time here in the US it has been the lament of university faculties that the incoming classes are ill-prepared for higher education. Thus colleges have had to institute ‘remedial’ classes in basic subjects to bring freshmen up to some minimal knowledge and capability.

Here the solution is always seen as a need for “mo’ money” in education. However, despite the fact that more money is sunk into US education now than ever before, the youth of today know less than their parents and grandparents.

It was also indicative to read recently that Irish teachers are advocating the abolition of homework! It would appear that they have given up trying to concentrate minds on the basis that if this is difficult to achieve in the confines of the classroom, it is impossible in the unconfined ‘real world’ with all its distractions. Not a good harbinger of a future educated class…