21st Century Education - Do we have a suitable plan?

The quotation below refers to school education in England and is taken from Claxton, G; "What's the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education "; Oneworld Publications; 2008; (p22,23).

"In 2005, a hundred of the most successful head teachers in England were invited to attend a conference organised by the National Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the QCA, with the aim of thinking about 'A Twenty-First Century Curriculum'. After agreeing that education is essentially a preparation for the future -- the future of society, and the future of every young person-I asked them, in terms of this fundamental purpose, how they thought schools were doing. I gave them four options:

  1. We are achieving this aim already for the majority of youngsters.
  2. We would achieve it, if currently mooted reforms were successfully implemented (and I allowed them to choose their own favourite reforms to think about-foundation schools, synthetic phonics, fewer tests, whatever).
  3. We are a long way from achieving the school-but least you personally have a pretty clear idea of what needs to happen.
  4. We have a long way to go, and you are not at all clear how we are going to do it.

There were no votes for A, none for B, about forty for C and about 60 for D. Not one of these thoughtful, successful head teachers, from all phases of the educational system, believed that the issues that are generating so much heat in the newspapers, and so much passion amongst politicians, went to the heart of the matter."

The results of the survey he undertook are somewhat worrying. You may, however, consider that in your own national context you have it all worked out. For example in the Scottish context a new curriculum 'for the 21st century' is in its infancy. The so called 'Curriculum for Excellence' and its supporting national intranet for education called Glow is the Scottish hope. You may also consider that your universities and colleges you are well able to adapt and change to match requirements and that they do that on an ongoing basis. On the other hand there are many people worried! What do you think?

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