Another voice – that of CBI (Confederation of British Industry) President Paul Drechsler CBE – was added to those calling for education to mean more than ‘knowledge’ and learning facts
It doesn’t have to be like this
In a speech to the Association of School and College Leaders in Birmingham Drechsler called on policymakers to make education in England about more than results and rote learning. Instead he proposed that the system should provide more flexibility for teachers to encourage thinking, questions, creativity and teamwork.
He highlighted the value that business leaders place in education’s potential to nurture ‘”great people” who were “well-rounded individuals”. Education’s power is not only producing people who can operate in today’s workplace but to give people “the spirit of enquiry that allows them to shape tomorrow’s too”.
Drechsler pointed out the findings and what we have, or haven’t learnt, from the PISA tests. The 2015 ratings showed England lagging far behind not only the leading countries such as Finland and Singapore but also behind such countries as Vietnam. The inventor of the PISA tests, Andreas Schleicher, said that in other countries policymakers were reacting to the test results and findings by encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning in order to improve performance. English policymakers were not.
“The OECD are clear that we are now doing more rote learning than almost anywhere else in the world. Yes, times tables are important. But if memorising facts is all students are doing, there’s much they are missing out on.”