So the Schools of the Future building programme has its head on the block. Good. It was a total misallocation of educational funds, that actually aimed to build 19th Century schools dressed up to look vaguely modern. Like a horse and cart with go-faster stripes. The really frustrating thing is that the real educational needs of the 21st Century could have been addressed for a small proportion of what has already been spent. For reference, the total cost of building Yacapaca has been of the order of 70p per registered member.
I have been kicking this idiotic programme since 2004. If you are interested in my view of why it would have been actively bad for the nation’s children, you could read:
- Schools of the Future: don’t forget your jetpack (2004)
- Home access – is the glass 80% full or 20% empty? (2006)
- Gordon muffs it again (2007)
Update: the axe has fallen. Here’s the list, from the Grauniad.
4 responses to “Good riddance to “Building Schools of the Future””
Trouble is, this leaves us with a set of buildings (or in some cases huts) which don’t look like being replaced any time soon.
Ed, think about how it is the countries that have nothing that are embracing the OLPC programme, with all of its revolutionary potential. It is going to take some pain, and more than a few leaky roofs to shock the educational establishment into realising that they need to get out of ‘classroom mentality’ before they can really embrace the benefits of elearning.
This something I feel so passionate about that I struggle to explain myself coherently. Is my point coming across?
In the countries that have nothing the attitude of the children is different as they have seen generations of suffering and have suffered themselves and therefore will embrace any possible benefits. What you fail to see is that if they had the finances to build better schools this might actually be ‘more’ beneficial to the children’s learning. With regard to this country, it sounds to me as though you are just pushing your own agenda rather than considering the practicality of getting children to take time out to learn from home. Some of those children are now resigned to learning in poor surroundings that will actually inhibit their learning. If you are going to continue to push elearning, be realistic about what can actually be achieved and do not just consider the classes that are able to afford internet access, regular meals and the ability to get their children to make an effort. You cannot compare this with other countries as the situation, circumstances, mindset and beliefs are in most cases different and complex.
I fully believe in the benefits of elearning but as part of a combined on-site schooling and self study programme as opposed to a stay-at-home programme.
Sean, where did you get the idea I was pushing home learning? What I am against is 19th Century schools in 21st Century clothing. Completely agree with you about home learning; it has its place but is by no means the best solution for most.
My own vision of future schools should perhaps wait for another post. What’s yours?