A production line mentality

12th August 2011 at 01:00

As this year's exam results are released (5 August), the annual bandwagon of critics of the increase in pass rates rolls on.

Over the past few years, schools have been stripped of funding by local authorities seeking to cut budgets, and teachers have been expected to increase standards and introduce Curriculum for Excellence with less money and time.

Since the introduction of school league tables and the educationally ludicrous idea of year-on-year target setting for individual departments and schools, teachers have been told by their superiors (both educational and political) that exam passes are the currency of education. Hence the focus on exam success.

The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence is to shift teaching focus from exam preparation to a wider, general learning experience, including the encouragement of higher order thinking. If the judgment on schools and teachers remains, the statistics generated every August, and the culture of teaching to the test, will not change.

The nature and effectiveness of a nation's education system reflects on its society as a whole. The ignorance of its critics reflects the way we have disintegrated as a community, viewing schools as a qualification production line rather than a nursery of learning, knowledge and thinking. Curriculum for Excellence may inspire minds inside schools, but it will struggle to change those outside.

Gordon Whyte, Tylney Road, Paisley.

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