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Friday, 4 July 2008

Depressing indictment of an educational Neverland


That MPs are so out of touch with the public feeling over the depth of their trough to have voted 'More Swill!' yesterday hardly surprised me at all and isn't really worth a post.

No, what's sparked the synapses this morning is this snippet from the 'Mail':
A quarter of teenagers believe education is not important because they intend to be footballers, TV celebrities or pop stars. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which carried out a poll of 2,500 youngsters, urged them to be more realistic about their prospects of finding a job in popular sectors such as entertainment and sport. The least popular careers were in the armed forces, manufacturing and sales.
There used to be much agonised liberal bleating in the 60s and 70s that education had a 'covert curriculum' that conditioned pupils to accept discipline, obedience and the ability to perform repetitive work tasks as training for a working life in the capitalist factories. The theory ignored the reality that, if anything, this 'covert curriculum' was most pronounced in the most prestigious private schools whose alumni no-one expected to man a conveyor-belt in life. Nevertheless, a reaction of sorts set in, and a kind of woolly 'personal realisation' agenda displaced one that graded children on objective merit. No more would careers officers direct 15 year-olds to the Fire Brigade, the factory, the supermarket check-out, the local agricultural college or typing school or, for the talented few, to university.

That the armed forces, manufacturing and sales - all fields that need people to turn up, obey instructions, be bored for lengthy periods and perhaps even to smile and be polite - are least popular amongst teenagers is hardly surprising. Teenagers are teenagers, after all. And who hasn't played air-guitar or crooned into a hair-brush with a fleeting dream of a packed auditorium? Perhaps it's Simon Cowell's fault that so many talentless people believe against hope that their tuneless squeaking is exactly what the A&R men are looking for. Perhaps it's Endemol, or the red-tops, or 'value' TV that have turned what used to be a private fleeting fantasy into something for which a quarter of pupils are eschewing education.

Or perhaps if they're that out of touch with reality, what they're really suited for is a job in Parliament.

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