Valuables in the open bank

2nd December 1994 at 00:00
I have a proposal that all secondary schools, including those in the private sector, should provide all their teaching material in all subjects, which are taught up to GCSE and A-level, on a computer database. Pupils, parents and teachers could then have access to them at school and at home; inspectors, lecturers and the public at large would have access, too.

The material ought to be made available on CD-Rom for PCs, on mini CD-Rom for portable computers, on smart cards for pocket computers and in text form. The best material from the top three schools in each subject could be transmitted worldwide by satellite.

Using the performance league tables of all schools in the UK, at GCSE and A-level, it would be possible to select the top three schools in each subject, and their outstanding course material could become generally available to everyone and be a model example for other schools to follow. Clearly, the best way to learn any subject, in the first instance, is from the greatest living masters and exponents of the subject of the day. This ideal situation can only now be realised with existing state-of-the-art information technology.

There are many other advantages to my proposal: all school material would be available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year; teachers who had moved schools would automatically leave behind teaching material for others to use; novice teachers and trainee teachers would have access to a bank of valuable material; the best material from the top three schools in the UK, in each subject, would be available to everyone, and could be used for teaching purposes or for improving prevailing standards in a schools.

The same idea could be applied to primary and preparatory schools and, in principle, to nursery schools, as children are becoming adept at using computers by the age of three. It is now high time to switch the addiction of children from computer games to computer education.

One outcome of my proposal is that it automatically creates the ultimate open school - primary, secondary, nursery. At the other end of the spectrum I am suggesting the same idea to universities, that they should install all their undergraduate and postgraduate courses on an open database to form the ultimate open university.

Dr Victor Abraham is a former lecturer at Greenwich University and now an education consultant in London.

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