Gordon Brown plans to “revolutionise” the British education system. According to his Mansion House speech last night when he becomes Prime Minister he wants a world class education system. At least that’s what he told us.
However, he is either missing the point, doesn’t understand what is happening in the real world, is badly advised or simply lying to us; you decide. The reason is that we already have a world class education system – it is called the Internet. Since the introduction of the web and the growth in information, hundreds of thousands of families have “home educated”. In most nations it is not a legal requirement to send your children to school, merely to have them educated. For some families home education is thought to be better. And it often is.
Children educated at home, via the Internet, often get higher exam grades and can tackle their exams at earlier ages than their school counterparts. Equally, home educated children often get a broader knowledge base than children taught in schools using rigid timetables and inflexible teaching practices.
And if you are worried about the social life of home educated children, there appears to be no problem. Indeed, they get a more flexible social arrangement than children in schools and can join more clubs and societies, meeting and being with more peers from a variety of backgrounds.
Gordon Brown doesn’t appear from his speech last night to have noticed that home education via the Internet already offers world class education. Instead, he wants the school leaving age to be extended to 18 instead of 16. He wants businesses to be involved with schools. And he wants children placed in “sets” according to ability.
Why does he want this? Jobs for men, that’s why. We are in a similar social situation as we were at the end of the Second World War. At that time millions of women worked in factories, on farms and so on. Then the men came home from the battlefields and needed their jobs back. So, several “studies” were published showing that women were indeed better off in the home because of the impact it had on children. This emotional blackmail led women away from work, allowing men to get their jobs back.
In the coming years we are going to need fewer jobs being done. Automation, technology and the rise in self employment are all combining to reduce the jobs market. That means if there are too many younger people and too many women at work, those jobs cannot go to men. The answer to this is to tell women they should look after their children – several new “studies” have criticised nursery care, for instance. Also, you extend schooling so that you remove young people from the jobs market. Indeed, sociologists have been pointing out for years that schools were only invented in the 19th Century in order to get children out of the jobs market.
So, it is curious that now, when the jobs market is shrinking that Gordon Brown comes up with a grand idea that will enable supply of talent to be restricted. He hasn’t counted on the Internet though. He has misunderstood that people are now voting with their feet and their keyboards. You can expect dramatic increases in home education via the Internet – indeed it is already rising exponentially – with more and more young people working for themselves. Gordon Brown and his advisers appear to be living in a previous Century.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+