What is education for in the 21st century?
In 1997 - after the election - everyone agreed with Blair’s mantra of “Education, education, education.” Now in 2011 - after the riots - everyone still seems to agree with it. But what is it for? Is it just to get the rioting buggers to behave? Or do pupils need it to get a job and improve the economy? Obtaining a career or personal satisfaction? Or is it just for an intellectual minority rather than something “useful” for everyone? Or is it for wider social cohesion and the community? Or should it be, as parents often state, just to help their kids “be happy”? Just what is education for in today’s changing world and is there something in it for all of us?
As the next set of teachers begin their training, and the next set of children turn up at the gates of their schools we ask what it is they are are all doing it for. After all, when a school is no longer just ‘bog standard’ it might be an academy, a free school or now even a ‘converter’ academy, does an education need to be for anything at all? And when a university place costs an arm and a leg, can the head do any thinking when it gets there? Isn’t education something we all just do - or have done - to us these days?
Our speaker is secondary school teacher and further education lecturer Alka Seghal-Cuthbert. Alka, who is unfashionably grateful to every teacher that told her to ‘just go and read a book’, will address one of the perennial human questions, what is education for?