Sunday, 11 July 2010

Strong arguments to improve the educational infrastructure

There was talk of education on Any Questions this week. The specific question was related to the importance of cuts in the schools building programme but there were subsidiary points including one about whether we can trust the comprehensive system or whether private education was the answer.

There is no doubt that capital expenditure has been cut (but was it ever affordable in the first place). We can argue for a long time about the importance of good quality buildings as compared to portacabins or rattling windows in an old building. We can debate the need for state of the art laboratories in our schools or whether pen and paper is more important.

Of course we need an appropriate infrastructure for our education system, but much more important is attitude. Maybe for some pupils a nice building is a reflection of the respect that is shown to them. My feeling is that attitude is so much more important than the building. Last year I was speaking with a teaching assistant from Senegal. He was amazed at the attitudes that he had come across in Britain. Our pupils don't appreciate their facilities so the argument for improving our infrastructure is very much weaker.

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