Tony Blair isn’t happy with Brexit and has muted the idea and now David Cameron says he is bored and wouldn’t mind a return to front bench politics, maybe as Foreign Secretary. But, only once his memoirs have been published and the dust from them has settled. It is a bare all account we’re told and it wouldn’t be possible to work with people he has been critical of he says. Well I’ve got a better suggestion, go and get a real job in the real world that the rest of us live in and maybe then you’ll understand how the world works. Being Foreign Secretary is a serious job which requires diplomacy to further Britain’s interests in the world. I don’t recall Cameron having much success trying to get a better deal for the UK in the EU! I interviewed Tom Newton Dunn recently at the London Grill Club and he described Cameron as an arrogant chancer, hardly the skills required to be Foreign Secretary.
Too many politicians today do A level history and Politics at university, or work as a researcher for their side, spend some time in the States working as a researcher, then come back home lobbying or researching before getting a seat. Career politicians with no idea of the street and the real world, especially the SME world which creates 60% of the jobs in this country. And how that ignorance shows, in all parties, when the careerists politicians become ministers. They mostly mean well, but don’t ask me to service a jumbo jet, I wouldn’t have a clue!
But that has taken me to universities. We’re told that one is in discussions with an insolvency adviser, two more are close to bankruptcy and several are taking expensive bridging loans against future fees to stay afloat. And student numbers are falling. Well, of course the real problem is that we have too many universities and too many people going to university. I’m not against education, far from it, but am against the conveyor belt system and the total nonsense of 50% of school leavers going to university. That of course was a Tony Blair brainwave. Apparently we’ve almost achieved that. What nonsense. 50% of the jobs in this country will never need a degree to do them. We’re not educating young people to be able to fulfil their potential by training them for the jobs that exist. Instead they are costing us money, running up debt themselves and are often not able to get a job at all, or of any significance. When I was 11 there were three types of senior school. Grammar School (which I fully support and went to) Secondary Modern school and Technical Colleges. The word engineer covers many disciplines and we need more engineers in all disciplines but the current education system is one size fits all. We need more technical schools. But what is education? Maurice Craft (1984) noted that there are two different Latin roots of the English word "education." They are "educare," which means to train or to mould, and "educere," meaning to lead out.
We’re obsessed with educare; ramming things in to kids, teaching them to learn and to regurgitate but not to think. I constantly despair at the poor ability of masses of people, say 20 years younger than me, under 50, at their inability to actually think. They simply repeat, without questioning or challenging, something they have heard and the warning is always in the opening words, “I think …” which often means anything but that!
Whereas educere barely gets a look in. To draw out of people, to teach them to think. I define intelligence as the ability to understand what you don’t understand using what you do understand! We all have natural skills and acquired skills and I’m a great believer in psychometric testing. It doesn’t tell you what job you should do, but with frightening accuracy in my case, identifies your strengths and weaknesses and points you in the right direction. I’ve argued, and with Secretaries of State for Education, that to use these as part of education would make education more valuable to the student and the country. People doing the right job enjoy their work and have less days sick. Maybe less people do what they do today because it’s what their mum or dad did, but too often they do what they do, especially the less educated, because it was available and takes no regard of their actual abilities. We all have abilities. We all have natural skills and education needs to concentrate on educere to help our young folk develop their skills.
I don’t know whether Blair or Cameron were educated based on educare or educere; but we really don’t want either of them coming back to have a second go at telling us what is good for us. They imposed educare on us!