In a perfect world, education would not just be about gaining qualifications, but about helping learners lead “happy, human lives”, a leading principal has said.
Speaking at TEDxNorwichED last week (video below), Stuart Rimmer, principal of Great Yarmouth College, said that although qualifications were important, the education system could "be better" if its main purpose was to “improve happiness, develop resilience and build wellbeing”.
Mr Rimmer, an advocate for mental health, highlighted GCSEs as a particular area of concern. "Sixteen-year-olds are told, around half of them, that they've failed, despite the system in which they have failed [being] one-dimensional [and one that] only measures one type of intelligence, and one type of academic attainment," he said.
He added: “There’s an obsession by regional, national government of measuring economic impact [of education]. There’s endless talk about skills shortages and skills gaps and the needs of solely meeting the needs of employers in order to drive up productivity standards. The necessity of growth is always economic and rarely human. My dear education, in the system you’ve created you simply are valuing the wrong things. It feels like the right time to have a conversation, it feels like the right time to change…and simply be better.”
Mr Rimmer also said that a great educational system would acknowledge learners' wellbeing as a “valid educational outcome”, and that developing character was as important as qualifications for learners hoping to pursue a vocational career.
He said: “I believe that the character we develop in colleges and higher education institutions and schools is of massive societal importance. It has a huge effect. And whilst technical educational is something that’s going to get you a job, it’s character that’s going to keep you there."
Watch the video here: