Thursday 29 October 2015

Education in the 21st Century - factory school products or fully-developed individuals?

“We are churning out identikit stuff to fuel the employment sector. Don’t we want something more, something individual, something creative, something better for society?”
(Secondary teacher quoted in 'Exam Factories?', research commissioned by the NUT) 

I am very pleased to have been asked to be one of the workshop leaders at the 'Socialism 2015' event being held over the weekend of November 7/8 at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL.

Together with Mary Finch, a socialist student who has recently helped organise a further 'Leeds For Free Education' march against cuts, privatisation, and tuition fees, I will be introducing a workshop on Sunday afternoon (1-2.45 pm) on 'Education for the Masses'.

I will be opening a discussion on 'Education in the 21st Century: factory school products or fully-developed individuals?'. Some of the topics I will throw in to the debate* will be:
  • 'Useful knowledge’ – for who?
  • Who has control of education?
  • What are the aims of the ‘Global Education Reform Movement’?
  • Are schools becoming Exam Factories?
  • Can we still learn lessons from the “Commissariat of Enlightenment”?
  • What is our Strategy to Win?

Please come and join the discussion - but don't just leave it there. This workshop is just one of a wide range of discussions taking place over the weekend, together with two significant rallies taking place at the Camden Centre, Judd Street, WC1H 9JE.  You can get an idea of what to expect by looking at this footage of last year's Saturday rally, featuring US socialist Kshama Sawant.

This year, the Saturday rally includes Paul Murphy, prominent fighter in the mass campaign of non-payment of water charges in Ireland and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD (Irish MP) and Jawad Ahmad, Pakistani singer and activist in the International Youth and Workers Movement. The Sunday rally includes Andreas Payiatsos, Greek socialist at the forefront of rebuilding the resistance after Syriza backed down in the fight against the austerity, and Dave Nellist, TUSC national chair and former socialist Labour MP.

* If you want a sneak preview of my introduction, you can download my presentation here

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