Development Goals for 2030

The United Nations has come up with some development goals for 2030. I thought I would reproduce the education goal and its constituent parts along with the key strategies for achievement. Many of the goals and strategies are worth testing our own system against. Indeed, there is plenty of room for debate around parity of esteem for vocational courses and parity of esteem for special education.

The goals are:
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
4.1 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes
4.2 By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education
4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
4.6 By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
4.a Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
4.b By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
4.c By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States

I do wonder on the last point whether if we cannot recruit sufficient teachers in developed countries, as with nurses, we will train more for a brain drain that will encourage teachers to move to more wealthy countries to increase their family income streams as remittance earners.

Still, more teachers will always be better than fewer and the other goals are worthy even if they lack the any numbers attached to them.

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Farewell Mr Taylor

So, Mr Taylor is following his mentor Michael Gove to the Ministry of Justice, presumably to head up the Youth Justice Board. The YJB was one of the success stories of the coalition, presiding over a dramatic fall in both the numbers in youth custody and in offending rates among young people. I hope that Mr Taylor, if indeed that is his new role, will help continue the trend towards both further reducing offending and the rehabilitation of those that do commit crimes. He might start by looking at the staffing challenges faced by the schools that produce the greatest numbers of young offenders.

Meanwhile The Secretary of State has the task of either finding a replacement or reorganising the whole training and professional development unit within the DfE. Could the name of the National College now disappear from sight as Mr Taylor’s job is handed to one or more civil servants to manage? This would take us back to the position last seen in the early 1990s before the Teacher Training Agency was created to oversee the reform of teacher training that took place under Kenneth Clarke.

Personally, I hope that there will still be an identifiable lead on teacher training and development. Sir Andrew Carter must be an obvious choice for the job after his report earlier this year. But, it might be good to have a woman in a senior position. Perhaps either an executive head or one of the CEOs of an academy chain might fit the bill, especially if it is a chain with a good record on both recruitment and professional development. Alternatively, someone running an organisation such as Teach First might be considered.

However, the salary level could be unattractive to many if the post falls within the new strict guidelines on public sector senior pay. No doubt a secondment could overcome even that problem.

Whoever takes over, whether an outsider or a career civil servant, will have less money to play with and will no doubt be expected to focus more on the recruitment and initial training part of the brief than on professional development that will no doubt be devolved to schools as a means of cutting costs? Such a dangerous move might really affect middle and senior leadership development over the next few years but probably won’t have any immediate impact on the political landscape.

Regular readers of this blog with know what my agenda is for whoever takes on the role. Convincing the Treasury that expecting trainee teachers to pay fees is not helpful would be my number one ambition for anyone taking on the job.

Human Rights

There’s a great story in the Daily Mail today about a BBC programme to be shown on tuesday evening that follows a group of Chinese teachers when they spent four weeks teaching in a Hampshire comprehensive school. Result; teenagers need more discipline. That was pretty predicable.

But, the glorious line in the Daily Mail has the following quote from one of the teachers: ‘If the British Government really cut benefits down to force people to go to work they might see things in a different way.’ A Marxist Chinese teacher telling a Right Wing Tory government to cut benefits. I am indebted to LBC Radio for bringing this to my attention. Hopefully, they will also ask Jeremy Corbyn for his reaction. Does he support this Marxist line of ‘conform or lose benefits’?

At the heart of this debate that will no doubt make for great television in the same way as ‘tough young teachers’ and the Educating Children in various parts of England series did is the question of whether respect for authority is earned or implicit in our society? The great thing about selective schools and indeed, private schools is that a lack of respect for their values gets you slung out.

Even in the 1970s you had to earn the right to teach those teenagers that didn’t want to learn. There is a previous blog post I wrote two years ago in August 2013 celebrating the Newsom Report about secondary modern schools. This was a government report published over 60 years ago that recognised the need for teachers to acquire the skills necessary to teach in a culture where individualism is more important than uniformity.

I would also be interested to see the CBI’s reaction to the programme since they seem to want both intellectual ability and the softer skills of teamwork, personal confidence, leadership and other attributes that aren’t brought out easily by rote learning in large classes.

Perhaps at the heart of this debate is the classic British desire to look for the failures in our society and celebrate defeat rather than identify where our education system is doing well and consider how that success can be replicated.

There is certainly an issue with some aspects of authority in our school system as the DfE figures released last week on exclusions demonstrate with figures for the increase in exclusion of primary school pupils. So, will the next Tory announcement be, a loss of benefits if your child mis-behaves at school? I hope not because I suspect all that will happen is that parents of some of these children won’t send their children to school and they will fall further behind and then become even more troublesome on the days that they do attend.

Personally, I think we need to revisit the curriculum for teenagers and ensure we focus behaviour management strategies in training on dealing with teenagers that find singers more interesting that statistics and tablets more fun than tables.

Finally, I wonder what the Chinese word or symbol is for dumb insolence; perhaps they don’t have one.