The first topic we want to discuss is ‘The Purpose of Education’ which we believe is fundamental in steering the future of education policy in the right direction. We have posed a series of questions to stimulate discussion on this topic however, we want you to let us have your views. Please suggest a debate on this first topic by leaving your comments in the box on the right, or go to the debate page to see the topics already being discussed.

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    The purpose of education

    Put a cross-section of people in a room and ask them ‘What is the purpose of education?’ and you are likely to get as many different answers as there are people. Should we adopt a national statement on the purpose of education to guide our vision? You will need to log in to vote and comment.

    There are many different views on the purpose of education. Some people say it is about each young person achieving their ambitions and becoming a successful member of society. An employer might put the emphasis on the skills needed in the world of work. A government official might stress having highly skilled workforce.

    Others reject a utilitarian approach and argue that we should instill in children a lifelong love of learning so that they are able to adapt and innovate as the world changes. A parent might say that emotional wellbeing and becoming a well rounded adult are as important as educational achievement.

    Of course many will argue that the education system should do all of these, however ambitious that may be!

    Countries such as Singapore have reach a shared view on the purpose of education and used this to inform curriculum, assessment, teacher training and accountability systems.

    What are your views? Register or login and let us know what you think. Here is a question you might like to consider:

    • Should we adopt a national statement on the purpose of education that all political parties sign up to? If, so what might it say?
    Phase I: The purpose of education
    Total replies: 21 Last comment: 21 Jul 16
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Agree (6)

Neutral (14)

Disagree (1)

  1. ‹ Latest comment

    Pooja Malu

    i agree with it

    Comment on this Comment made: 21 JUL 2016

    deborah, Young person

    i reali lyk this article

    Comment on this Comment made: 15 JAN 2015

    Filza Ali

    nice one

    Comment on this Comment made: 21 JUL 2014

    Ashok Venkatesh, School/college leader

    I fear that any statement which is broad enough for nearly everyone to sign up to will be too weak to do any good in guiding policy. How far should we just accept that there are many competing visions and concentrate on keeping a reasonable balance?

    Comment on this Comment made: 14 NOV 2013

    anna, School/college leader

    Yes we need a national statement to inform our discussions about curriculum and assessment: without a vision, these discussions will be polarised into 'reactionary/ progressive' camps and no consensus will be reached. HOWEVER, the national statement needs to emerge from careful and sustained dialogue with the profession, with employers and with students themselves who, in some areas, have a better understanding of the future they face that we do. Government should be involved as LISTENERS not as directors of the debate, as much of the current redundancy in the system is the result of government ministers making policy in areas where they have no expertise.

    Comment on this Comment made: 04 NOV 2013

    Tony Atkinson, Education stakeholder

    You begin with a statement all parties can agree to - and good luck with that - but you end with a system designed to hammer all kinds of pegs into the same square hole. One of the strengths of any society is its ability to make good use of the differing viewpoints and philosophies of its citizens. The different visions and ethos of a variety of schools using different methodologies with different aims for pupils is part of that strength. A 'single vision' can too easily become a one-eyed strait-jacket.

    Comment on this Comment made: 02 OCT 2013

    Alan Gurbutt, Parent

    Learning, as distinct from education and schooling, should be a process of mutual respect and enlightenment between student and tutor. The efficacy of knowledge, skills and personal development should be gauged by humanity's ability to solve world problems.

    Comment on this Comment made: 30 SEP 2013

    Jessica Austin-Burdett, Teacher/other staff

    We should adopt a national statement about the purpose of education, AS LONG as it is a statement that takes into account the opinions of all educational stakeholders and NOT just employers or traditionalists. The danger is that a national statement may be restrictive and not forward thinking enough, or outcome driven rather than holistic.

    Comment on this Comment made: 26 SEP 2013

    David Allsop, School/college leader

    In answer to an attempt to come up with something that isn't bland, this is almost impossible as it has to be, by definition, general. However, I often use the phrase;
    "Qualifications get you the interview; all of the other skills we gain at school get you the job"

    Comment on this Comment made: 23 SEP 2013

    Carolyn Roberts, School/college leader

    ...and YES we should adopt a national statement on the purpose of education that all parties sign up to, and an agreement that unless all parties agree, no externally-imposed change. If we achieve a National College of Teachers, this is how we plan for the future, agree our prioirites and save the children from perpetual interference.

    Comment on this Comment made: 23 SEP 2013

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