Education for the Future
Not the past
- The nature of education has changed due to of the ubiquity of knowledge transfer via the internet.
- The state has consistently failed to improve educational outcomes while spending ever-increasing amounts of money.
- Parents and students have little or no say on the quality or content of the education the state education system provides.
- The range of specialist subjects available and at a variety of suitable ability levels is not available in a one system fits all approach of the state.
- There are only two subjects or topics that are of universal benefit and these are English and Maths.
- If educators don't change the way they deliver education they will be replaced by technology.
One of the mistakes Labour made with education was opening up subjects that had previously been 'hobbies' as mainstream subjects. While it's lovely that children can take subjects that they enjoy - Singing, Acting, Media Studies and so on, the chance that they will have a successful career based on those subjects is small.
There is too much competition because these are subjects in which we'd all like to become successful. Unfortunately, just a few of us make the grade. Consider for example the number of Media graduates working in unskilled jobs or call centres.
This strategy also contributed to the bloat of educational costs as the following Cato Inst. chart demonstrates. While costs have soared, outcomes have remained static or declined in the US. Smallism Education is designed to invert the curves and increase outcomes while decreasing costs. When contrasted with Asia, which has the fastest growing rate of education in the world but the cheapest books and no need for expensive resources in most subjects. The cost of books is something else that needs looking into. While students in the UK can pay sixty pounds for a textbook, similar books in Asian can cost as little as five.
For this reason, educational establishments would only have to provide (by law) two subjects (English and Maths). [Please note Smallism is UK centric but the principles are valid for all countries with appropriate changes]
Once a child is equipped with these two subjects all other learning becomes discretionary. Some people will study hard and specialise, and some will read widely and be generalists. Some will not study at all.
The latter cannot be made to study as the education system has found out in the last 15 years and to try and force study is a waste of resources not to mention very stressful for teachers with targets to meets and it is far more efficient for these children to be following a successful role model, be that a family business or a trade with a trusted friend.
Smallism Ward Service structures will enable the opening of Educational Establishments in competition or collaboration with other wards. EE's will have to provide a high standard of English and Maths tuition, however, throwing open all other subjects to those who can offer them.
For example, a surgeon with an interest in helping mould the next generation of surgeons and doctors might want to run a biology class. They could be retired, or wish to provide a course suitable for their children if they believe no such course is available.
This person would then design a course using the exam board of his choice or indeed starting a new exam board if there are no suitable organizations. To sign up with an Education Establishment who may offer advertising and management services to recruit and then to select a cohort from the students that apply.
The provider would set the course fees (paying a rental to the EE for the use of premises, advertising and administration) and be able to make a profit if successful.
The price set will vary based on the number of pupils applying for that course and the materials required to run the course. If the provider turns out to be fairly useless as a teacher the number of students will drop, and the course will be uneconomical to run. If he's successful, then he might take on a partner to run another course using his teaching style, methods and curriculum.
In this way, the link between investment in education and potential wealth generation is re-established.
Operating this way opens up some interesting avenues for development because now consumers are paying for their futures directly incentivising the pupil to work harder at completion but also removes the discrimination by age. If someone decides at 40 that they want to be a surgeon, then there is nothing stopping me from joining this class. If a genius son at 12 wants to take the course, he can also.
Subject specialists will want to show their skills to potential clients, maybe with free or low-cost introduction classes a business model similar to that that many educational websites offer. Furthermore, parents and children can learn together!
This method completely breaks the monopoly of the state school system while ensuring all children get the two most important subjects to equip them with everything they need for future learning.
It also allows pupils to have a change of heart. If someone has done a year of Dance-studio and realised they're not good enough to make a living (as they have been wrongly taught in modern progressive education) there is no reason they can't start on a new career path at whatever stage of their education or age.
Furthermore, new opportunities are opened up. Professional courses become available to school children, including project management, IT and networking skills provided by vendors such as Microsoft and Cisco become available, and a 12-year-old who completes these courses can be earning (at the time of writing) 30-40k per year by the time they're 14.
Additionally, education provision at a local level places education and jobs in the same area matching supply and demand. If a coal mine requires engineers, then it will sponsor courses at Education Establishments locally. Should someone from outside the area want to follow this course then, a range of provision will be available from boarding and sponsorship.
Only the left will decry this concept as it creates higher skilled youth at an earlier age. The left will scream about child abuse but if a child at 14 can earn this kind of money why on earth shouldn't they? Again it's about having the individual make their own choices about their future and providing a system that allows maximum flexibility with the sole aim of wealth creation instead of ensuring a person has poor education, irrelevant to the local job market and with little opportunity to change direction or progress further through study and experience. One must not forget the number of unemployed media studies students created by Labours ideas of education.
It seems reasonable that the focus of Education required by the state should be to empower the child with the drive, resilience and tools to take education as a serious and enjoyable alternative.
This system also allows for the flexibility in job skills that companies and business requirements, the state will only provide English (Including Latin) and Mathematics, but to a very high level, between the ages of two and fourteen.
One aspect of education that is missing from many schools today is teaching pupils ‘how’ to learn concerning the taking of notes, reading ahead of the lectures and preparing questions, writing formal reports and essays. These are essential skills for lifelong learning and preparation for work and so will be persistently encouraged while learning all other subjects.
The rest of the time would be down to parental and pupil choice as per the model of modes of education. If a person believes their three-year-old daughter has what it takes to be a dancer they can choose a route of learning to suit. If that child then turns out not to be the protégé that was once hoped for the child can start another career path learning tree. Incidentally, there is no reason she would have to give up on the dancing either. This ability to re-train almost on demand, at any stage of life will provide an excellent foundation for a knowledge-based science and technology-based sector of the economy.
Opening education up to free-market principles will provide a competitive environment between suppliers and drive up standards. Providing services locally ensures quality of service due to the closeness of the teachers with the families, in the same way that all Smallism services are improved.
Smallism's approach to education is in-line with current progress in education provided by web-based educators such as Udemy and Khan Academy. Many universities are also investigating this evolving paradigm shift in education delivery.