Thursday 20 May 2010

Brains for the Economy

At one time the Labour government combined the Department of Education with the Department of Employment. The clear implication was that the government regarded the main purpose of education as to prepare our young people for their jobs (hands for the factories) rather than to develop individual talents, open windows, develop self reliance and self-confidence and help young people to achieve their potential as human beings. There is quite enough pressure from parents and pupils themselves to see education as a means to good qualifications and jobs. The government and educators should be pulling in a more altruistic direction.

Happily, for compulsory education this link has now been broken, but under the coalition, it remains for universities and science, which are under the direction of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Our Universities should be centres of learning and exploration in all the arts, sciences, classics and humanities, motivated by the whims and interests of the teachers and learners. They should not exist primarily to feed the economy with commercially viable technologies and suitably trained human fodder.

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