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"Why Educate?"

A series of Lectures addressing fundamental questions of education

Published by
The Learning Skills Foundation®

in association with
The Independent

This book is sponsored by
Sovereign Capital

A programme of four thought-provoking lectures by eminent professors in education concluded on 17th June with Professor Alison Wolf’s talk on whether the National Curriculum is ‘fit for purpose’. It was a wide-ranging analysis of the origins and nature of the National Curriculum in which Alison highlighted the point that the speed with which the curriculum was conceived, constructed and implemented and its monolithic proportions have effectively stifled public debate about what education should be for the past twenty years. We have been more concerned with measuring outcomes and implementing initiatives than re-addressing this fundamental question: why educate? Fittingly this was precisely the question which prompted the Learning Skills Foundation to put on the lecture series in the first place.

Alison’s lecture was preceded by three other notable addresses. In the first of the series Professor David Hargreaves asked the question ‘Who runs and who should run our schools?’ Taking as his starting point the origins of Wikipedia he showed how the site had exploded the myth that information was in the hands of the few. He argued passionately (with many welcomed interruptions!) that the business of running schools should be in the hands of those who understand the possibilites and potential of the Wikipedia model and technology in general: the Y Generation.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen addressed the issue of Aspergers Syndrome in schools and whether those on the autistic spectrum should be expected to follow the National Curriculum. His detailed and fascinating exposition of the scope and nature of autism highlighted what a mismatch the curriculum is to the needs of those on the autistic spectrum and how we are doing them a disservice.

Professor David Hopkins looked at the fundamental question ‘Are schools still relevant?’ In his lecture he looked at whether schools allowed children to reach their ‘maximum potential’ and reviewed the different teaching approaches to tackle this core objective over the past four decades. Many fascinating insights into the role and workings of government as well as many thought-provoking questions were explained and examined along the way.

This series of lectures is now available as a free down loadable book from this page. Simply click on the link below to download the pdf.

“Why Educate?” <-- PDF download link