Finally the Government are asking questions about the purpose of education in England! This is one of the questions I’ve been asking ever since returning to the UK 6 years ago and inserting my children back to the educational system here.
In 1989, the UK ratified the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) where, amongst it’s many articles, can be found details of the right to education. In the UK all children do have the right to access an education as stated in article 28, but I believe the Government could be said to be in danger of ignoring the next article (29) which goes on to quantify what type of education a child is entitled to:
“The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential” UNCRC article 29 1(a)
In a recent essay I highlighted that:
“Successive Education Ministers have steered schools away from providing a “child-friendly, inspiring and motivating [education for] the individual child” (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2001, p5) and instead have encouraged the “type of teaching that is focused primarily on accumulation of knowledge, prompting competition and leading to an excessive burden of work on children”, which according to the Committee for the Convention on the Rights of the Child “may seriously hamper the harmonious development of the child to the fullest potential of his or her abilities and talents” (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2001, p5).”
Now that the Government are asking “What the purpose of education for children of all ages in England should be” I would like to direct them to the work already done by the UN which clearly states why we educate children – helping them discover who they are and enabling them to be and do all that they can.