Recomendamos la lectura del portal Otras Voces en Educación en su edición del día domingo 23 de junio de 2019. Esta selección y programación la realizan investigador@s del GT CLACSO «Reformas y Contrarreformas Educativas», la Red Global/Glocal por la Calidad Educativa, organización miembro de la CLADE y el Observatorio Internacional de Reformas Educativas y Políticas Docentes (OIREPOD) registrado en el IESALC UNESCO.
00:00:00 – Cientos de profesores ticos protestaron contra políticas lesivas
Parents pretend to be religious and clerics pretend to believe them. Getting into state-funded church schools encourages hypocrisy all round
Everyone knows how church schools work. It isn’t even fun describing it to foreigners any more, so well known is it that we have a cock-eyed system where state-funded establishments will only educate the adherents of a particular faith, who are so few in number – and mostly retired – that there are probably not enough real ones to fill a single primary school. For a brief window, citizens pretend to be religious, clerics pretend to believe them and all the right children get into the right schools. Somehow, this foundation of mutually acknowledged deceit is really good role-modelling.
It can be subtle: a vicar will write you a recommendation if he knows you, but to know you, he has to see you. But did he see you? Did you sit at the front? Does he know your name? In areas densely packed with Roman Catholic schools, priests haven’t enjoyed this much power since 16th-century Florence. They can’t walk into Waitrose without being given a muffin.
But the more modern way – in which everything has to be measured, because we all love transparency – involves a great deal of counting. In some schools, it is 10 points if you were baptised before you were six months old, five points after. I know someone who ended up serving the eucharist to get his numbers up. How did he even know how to do that? Oh, apparently, it is really easy.
In south-west London, there was a church with a book: you got a mark for attending; 40 ticks in a year assured your child a place at a church school, 20 might get them on a waiting list. It sounds like a manageable number, 40, until you take out hangovers and holidays and realise that means every week. Nevertheless, it was working fine until someone stole the book.
What is a reasonable vicar to do? Clearly, someone needs to set fire to all the parents, as a lesson for the future. Geneva conventions, Geneva schmonventions. There are times when only collective punishment will do. Or lay waste to the school. See how they would like that, having their children educated in the secular tradition that is so poisonous to young minds, even though it seems to be working fine for everyone else.
But what if the theft was not committed in self-interest? What if it was someone protesting that the sublime act of worship had been debased into a set of transactions, a system blatant but not honest, faith-based but not faithful? What if, on the day of reckoning, God agreed with the thief? The conundrum is so unwieldy it is like trying to get a moral duvet into a spiritual duvet cover.
Everything that is wrong with the process is contained within the book, everything that renders us powerless in the face of it is contained within the theft of the book. I would paymoney to know where the book is now.
We should reject faith schooling. Apart from all the nonsense, it is discriminatory. If you are the child of atheists, or people who want to stay in bed, or people who do not understand the bells, whistles, smoke and mirrors, that is not your fault. This system is the opposite of comprehensive and runs counter to all the principles upon which a universal right to an education is founded. Unfortunately, it is not at all interesting until you have a child of four, or 10, at which point all you want to do is give a priest a muffin.
It is not unusual for Boris Johnson and his works to give you an eerie sensation of falling through time, landing in a decade you never wanted to see. His marriage over, journalists are picking apart the character of Miss X as though they are in a 50s knitting circle. (Is she a “party girl”? Sources suggest that she is.) Yet Johnson’s reputation remains untouched. Most people do not care that he committed adultery and find it irrelevant to his fitness to govern. And when I say “most”, that is not a referendum most; that is a real, 72% most, according to a Sky Data poll.
There is an obvious explanation, which is that his reputation for deceit was so well established that it would have taken far more than a simple affair to diminish it; it would have had to be a mega-affair, with the Duchess of Cambridge, or his daughter’s boyfriend, or the entire membership of a branch of the Conservative party, treasurer included. It is not interesting when a snake swallows a mouse; it needs to swallow a football or a Magimix.
While that is plausible, it misses the bigger shift: sexual politics has moved on and left the media behind. Most people distinguish quite well between public and private; more importantly, most people see sex as a crime only when it is non-consensual.
If you take that principle seriously, to bring the weight of your disapprobation down upon two people having consensual sex is diminishing, and not just of your own maturity. You can’t make a strong or meaningful case against sex as an act of violence, an exertion of power, if you think all sex is your business and all of it is disgusting. Johnson’s shagging may be the most mysterious thing about him, but it is the least dishonourable.
A sperm bank in California is offering lookalike genetic material, enabling you to choose a baby that looks like a star. Ben Affleck is a favourite, but you can also choose David Beckham, if what you want is a son who looks like a person who is really good at football. It seems a little shortsighted: what if you ended up with a girl who looked exactly like Ben Affleck? But consider multiple children and the vista cracks open: you could have one Ben Stiller and one Owen Wilson and create a mini-Zoolander when they are seven. I would get a Tony Benn and a Roy Jenkins, give each a pipe (a fake one – I am not a lunatic) and make them debate.
Source of the article: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/12/desperate-parents-are-bribing-priests-with-muffins-our-faith-school-system-must-end
Kinsley Academy may officially be less than three years old, but its redbrick buildings stand as a reminder that there has been a primary school here, serving this rural, former mining community in West Yorkshire, for well over 100 years. Jade Garfitt didn’t hesitate to send her son, aged five, to the school: Kinsley born and bred, she felt she’d got an excellent education there herself.
But since he started she has become increasingly concerned. “He’s received one piece of homework this academic year,” she tells me over a cup of tea in the community cafe across the road. “He’s only done PE once since November. At one point, his class went two weeks without having their reading books changed. If you tried to say, ‘Look, there’s issues here’, you’d be shooed away.”
She says her son was for months taught by a revolving door of supply teachers. “They never introduced themselves. We never knew their name. The children were really unsettled, crying, not wanting to go to school.”
Kinsley is part of a wave of schools that have converted into academies – state-funded but independent of local authority control. In 2015, it left the auspices of Wakefield council to become Kinsley Academy, joining one of the hundreds of charitable companies the government calls “multi-academy trusts”, which between them run thousands of schools across England. This is a key plank of the government’s schools strategy under which high-performing schools in each trust help the struggling ones improve.
But in Kinsley, the reverse has happened. Lauded by Ofsted a few months before it joined the Wakefield City Academies Trust, Kinsley has seen standards plummet to well below the national average. “I’ve had to go to teachers to ask for homework. I’ve had to argue with them to change my son’s reading books. I’ve taught him all his times tables at home,” Sarah Jones, who has two children at the school, tells me.
Jade and Sarah are just two of thousands of parents in West Yorkshire affected by a large-scale educational failure, whose ripples have been felt far beyond Kinsley. In fact, their worries are being echoed across England amid growing concern that something may be seriously amiss with the government’s academies experiment.
In July 2016, the Education Funding Agency investigated the trust. Its draft report, leaked to the TES, found that its interim chief executive, the businessman Mike Ramsay, had paid himself £82,000 over a three-month period. It concluded that the trust was in an “extremely vulnerable position as a result of inadequate governance, leadership and overall financial management”. Later that year, it was reported that the trust had paid almost £440,000 to IT and admin companies owned by Ramsay and his daughter.
The trust was nevertheless allowed to carry on. Then, in September last year, it suddenly announced it would be looking for new sponsors for all 21 of its schools – but not before it had transferred more than £1.5m of reserves from its schools to its central coffers, entirely permissible in the current system. Some of this was funds raised by parents. It’s not clear whether any of this money will be left when the trust winds up, or whether those schools will see it again.
“The collapse of Wakefield City Academies Trust has sent shockwaves through our area,” says the local Labour MP Jon Trickett, who has for months been seeking answers from the government. “For many parents, it has been disturbing to find that their children’s futures could be threatened by the recklessness of people with very limited educational experience.”
Wakefield City is one in a series of high-profile failures of trusts forced to give up all their schools. The magazine Schools Week reported just last week that Bright Tribe, the trust with the lowest-performing secondary schools in the country, would also be closing and handing back its 10 schools.
Are these failures the inevitable consequence of a quasi-market system, predicated on the idea of takeovers? Or a sign of something deeply rotten at the heart of the government’s flagship education policy?
Academies have been a jewel in the education policy crown for both Labour and Conservative governments in the past 25 years. According to Professor Becky Francis, director of the Institute of Education at University College London, Labour’s academies programme was “focused on the revitalisation of schooling as an engine of social mobility in deprived areas”. She says the idea of bringing in business and philanthropic sponsors – including big names such as the London-based French financier Arpad Busson – “not just for money but for expertise” was controversial from the start.
But although the Labour government hugely talked up its academies programme, there were only around 200 of them – 1% of all English schools – by the time it left office in 2010. It was Michael Gove, the incoming Conservative education secretary, who put turbo boosters under the policy. By the time he left the job in 2014, the number had rocketed to almost six in 10 secondary schools, and one in five primaries.
What drove this? Not the evidence, according to Francis. Even as the explosion was taking off, “the DfE’s own evidence showed there was hardly any difference in outcomes between academies and local authority schools, once you controlled for their pupil intakes,” she says. She puts it down to “a strong ideological dislike of local authority influence, and a faith in autonomy and marketisation”.
The first academy chains were born out of the Labour government’s effort to introduce more stability into the system when it realised that there were significant risks to setting up independent, state-funded schools. They were embraced by the coalition government for similar reasons.
Mark Lehain, interim director of New Schools Network, is a champion of this model. “In Bedford, where I used to teach, there were failing local authority schools left to fail generation after generation of kids,” he says. For him, a big advantage of academy chains is that you can remove a school from a failing trust and give it to one better placed to turn it around.
There’s also an intuitive advantage to the chains: if someone is running one school brilliantly, isn’t it a waste not to get them involved in running more? “If you’ve got a school that’s functioning well you can develop a group of schools that can learn and build from that,” says Sam Freedman, a former special adviser to Gove.
That’s the theory. The problem is that it hasn’t quite happened like that in practice. There have been several studies in the past few years that have invariably reached similar conclusions: there doesn’t appear to be an inherent benefit to a school being run by an academy chain instead of a local authority. “There are a handful of trusts achieving amazing things, but a much longer tail of trusts performing really poorly,” says Francis. Her analysis shows six in 10 academy chains have below-average attainment for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What’s gone wrong? “I think there was certainly a mistake in the early days of the coalition, where we let so many schools convert at once, and allowed some chains to build too fast and unsustainably,” Freedman says of his time at the DfE. According to the Commons public accounts committee, there were simply too few checks on schools wanting to become academies: the government rejected just 13 out of more than 2,000 applications in three years. Trusts haven’t had to prove themselves before taking on new schools in difficult straits: Wakefield City Academies Trust took over 14 schools in special measures in under three years. “There was a period after 2011 where the academy system felt like the wild west, with big personalities coming in and changing things with little educational justification,” says Francis.
Some of those personalities took big financial liberties, paying themselves far in excess of what a local authority head could earn, and spending taxpayer cash on services provided by companies linked to themselves or family members.
“In the case of Wakefield City Academies Trust, related-party transactions look like a convenient way to sidestep laws that prevent people profiting from schools,” says Trickett. “If the reports of financial problems at other chains are true, the government may find its plans to give trusts millions to expand have the effect of pouring water into a leaky bucket.”
Once a school joins a trust, there’s no going back: its reserves and buildings are absorbed into the legal entity of the trust. “If a school thinks it is getting poor services from its academy trust, there isn’t much it can do about it,” says Laura McInerney, former editor of Schools Week.
The only way out is in the case of serious failure. But that can take a long time to get noticed. Parents are often the first to spot it, but it can be hard for them to be heard. Even MPs can meet a wall of silence. “A culture of secrecy prevailed,” says Trickett. “The letters I wrote to the trust elicited wholly inadequate responses.”
Even when failure is eventually recognised, finding a trust to take over struggling schools can be difficult. The government has no power to compel trusts to take over schools. Lots of these schools will also have serious financial problems, whether as a result of mismanagement, falling pupil rolls, or long-running unmanageable PFI contracts. This makes them an unattractive proposition to other trusts, who themselves have to stay afloat at a time when schools funding is getting tighter.
But takeover regardless remains the main school improvement game in town: since 2016, the government has required all schools rated “inadequate” to become academies. The pipeline of schools in limbo is growing: over six in 10 rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2016-17 had not opened as an academy nine months later.
The takeover process is overseen by eight regional school commissioners. “Parents have no right to a consultation on who should sponsor their school, let alone any kind of veto or vote,” says McInerney. “The meetings where decisions are made are secretive, with only the barest of minutes.”
Potential conflicts of interest abound within opaque, interconnected circles: the Conservative peer Lord Nash was for years a schools minister while chairing an academy chain accountable to the government department he helped to run.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that an incredible amount of time and energy – not to mention at least £745m, according to the National Audit Office – has been invested in a huge reorganisation that has delivered patchy benefits at best. “I fear this exclusive focus on structures has led to policymakers taking their eye off the ball in relation to the most important element of the education system, quality of teaching,” says Francis.
There are plenty of fixes on the table. McInerney thinks there should be a clampdown on high pay, a lock on school assets, and that local authorities should be able to spin out their own academy trusts. Others have suggested banning related-party transactions. The question is whether Theresa May’s government has the inclination or bandwidth to do any of this against the backdrop of Brexit.
As the summer holidays begin in Kinsley, Jade and Sarah tell me they are hopeful things will improve now that their children’s school has transferred from Wakefield City Academies Trust to a new trust. But could it all happen again somewhere else?
“No lessons have been learned,” says Laura McInerney. “Pressure is still being put on academy chains that are too small and fragile to take on board tricky schools. There are no consequences for people who flout financial regulations. It’s not a case of whether there’ll be further collapses, but simply of when and where.”
Trusts that failed the test
Ever since Tony Blair opened England’s first academy, the Business Academy Bexley, in 2002, these schools have been the Marmite proposition in education: loved by some, hated by others. It was under a Tory education secretary, Michael Gove, that their numbers really took off. In 2015, David Cameron, then prime minister, told his party conference that he wanted every school in England to be an academy by 2020. But the past two years have been marked by a series of high-profile failures.
The Lilac Sky Schools Academy Trust is forced to give up its nine schools. Its accounts reveal that it used public funding to pay consultants more than £1,000 a day even as it was drawing on emergency public funding to ensure classrooms could open with basic equipment and furniture.
The Education Fellowship trust, founded by Sir Ewan Harper, a key influencer of Tony Blair’s academies policy, says that it will be giving up its 12 schools. The move follows a series of damning Ofsted judgments and serious financial problems.
The Wakefield City Academies Trust makes a shock announcement that it would be is pulling out of all 21 of its schools, having been plagued by questions over its finances. Revelations include the payment of more than £400,000 for services to companies connected with its chief executive and his daughter.
The Perry Beeches Academy Trust, which David Cameron once praised as “a real success story”, says it will hand over its five schools after reports of financial mismanagement. The trust paid an additional salary of £120,000 over two years to its former chief executive on top of his £80,000 annual salary.
Source of the article: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/22/academy-schools-scandal-failing-trusts
According to UNICEF, Nigeria’s population growth has put pressure on the country’s resources, public services and infrastructure. With children under the age of 15 accounting for 45% of the 171 million population, the burden on education has become overwhelming.
And while primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, net attendance is only about 70% — which translates to Nigeria having over 10.5 million out-of-school children. 60% of those children are in northern Nigeria.
Not to mention that the increased enrolment rates have created challenges in ensuring quality education, as resources are spread more thinly. It is not rare to see cases where there are 100 pupils for one teacher, or where students learn under trees because of a lack of classrooms.
«When President Buhari came into power in 2015, UNICEF said out-of-school children in Nigeria was about 10.5 million.
But I want to tell Nigerians that with the effort of this president, especially with the school feeding programme, it dropped from 10.5 million to 8.6 million as at last year.»
That’s untrue. and we need to face the fact that the Nigerian education system has undoubtedly failed millions of children. In north-eastern Nigeria, conflict has deprived many children of access to education. Teachers have been killed, and schools burned down or closed for security reasons.
It’s evident that the government cannot fix the educational sector alone, international and private intervention is urgently needed.
Source of the notice: http://www.konbini.com/ng/lifestyle/10-5-million-nigerian-children-school/
Over 200 pupils received scholastic materials from the Education Ministry such as exercise books, pencils, pens and pads for the girls in upper primary.
As part of the celebrations of the African Public Service day on Friday, the Ministry of Education and sports has donated scholastic materials to Kiwanga COU Primary School pupils in Mukono district.
Over 200 pupils received scholastic materials from the Education Ministry such as exercise books, pencils, pens and pads for the girls in upper primary.
The Human resource officer at the Ministry, Joy Tamwesaliza said that this day is celebrated every 23 of June every year world wide but because 23 of this year was falling on a Saturday, it was decided that it be celebrated Friday.
The main celebrations were at Kololo Airstrip.
Tamwesaliza said the products will help boost the pupils’ studying moral because these are the main items needed in school.
‘‘The Education Ministry does not want to see pupils dropping out of school due to lack of scholastic materials because some parents cannot afford them.
«The products we have distributed will be shared amongst all the pupils from baby class to primary seven where every child will get a pencil, a pen and at least two books except the pads which will be given to only girls in upper primary,’’ Tamwesaliza said.
The Deputy head teacher at Kiwanga C.O.U Primary School, Annet Nandutu said that many pupils miss lessons because they don’t have pencils, pens or books which affects their performance.
She says that more so for the girls who have started their menstruation periods, hinders them when it comes to attending classes because they don’t pads to use.
Tamwesaliza added that 100 dozens of books, 50 dozens of pencils, 3 boxes of sanitary towels and four boxes of pencils were distributed to the pupils.
Source of the notice: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1480251/education-ministry-donates-scholastics-african-public-service-day.
When their school got 3D printers a few years ago, Brenden Davidson’s year 10 technology class was finally able to rotate and fully explore their designs.
Then in 2016, the technology leader of learning at St Mary’s Cathedral College started bringing augmented and virtual reality into the classroom.
«It’s an easier way to do it, we’d finish the design work and put it in augmented reality so they could view their work,» Mr Davidson said.
Now, he’s going even further with the technology.
«When I first started, I was just using it as a tool to display their work. Now I’m trying to use it as a content creation tool,» Mr Davidson said.
«With virtual reality, you’ve got sensors in your hand and you’re using your whole body to design something and it’s in real scale in front of you. Traditionally you’d have a keyboard and a mouse, which is not an overly natural way to construct something.»
Mr Davidson won the Premier’s Teachers Mutual Bank New and Emerging Technologies Scholarship last year and recently completed a study tour of England, Sweden and America to look at how augmented and virtual reality are being used in education around the world.
«What I learnt on the tour was that AR and VR can be successful at many levels and it’s very easy to jump into it at the free level,» Mr Davidson said.
«If students are using their smartphone, they’re bringing the technology with them and they can just use augmented reality at no cost. With virtual reality, you can get headsets for a couple of dollars.»
Mr Davidson said the technology is useful across all subjects, with companies now beginning to augment textbooks.
«You can scan the page and a 3D solar system will appear and you can rotate and move that around,» he said.
«It can help students digest complex concepts at a higher rate, we look at things in a 3D perspective so it’s more natural and easier to understand than 2D things.
«And there’s a high degree of motivation, students are quite excited by it because some of them are having that experience with games but it’s something they’ve never done in the classroom.»
The dive into educational uses for technology by schools and businesses comes amid warnings that smartphones and other devices may be affecting students’ focus in the classroom, as well as their level of physical activity and quality of sleep.
However, Mr Davidson said industry developments and widespread phone ownership are making tools such as augmented and virtual reality far more accessible in schools.
Mr Davidson will speak to Australian teachers about the potential uses of the technology at conferences this year and will also write a report on the subject that will be published by the NSW Premier’s Department.
«There’s a level of awareness [about augmented and virtual reality], but when I demonstrate it at different places teachers can see the benefit of it,» he said.
«You can go on virtual excursions to anywhere in the world, students can get an immersive experience in Africa, the Great Barrier Reef.
«With the amount of money that’s being invested in this, it’s going to become a tool students can utilise in all their education.
«And teachers can see how they can quickly and easily put it into what they’re already doing.»