From education to employment

Social values and community cohesion at risk.

The educational aims of young people are at risk of becoming overshadowed by the need to provide a skilled workforce, according to a new independent review published by Oxford University.

The Nuffield Review of 14-19 education and training in England and Wales, by Oxford University’s Department of Education, argues that social values, community cohesion and personal fulfilment could be at risk, if attention is not given to broader educational aims.

Issues Paper 6, Aims and Values, recommends that young people’s education should be designed to encourage them to think intelligently and critically about the physical, social, economic and moral worlds in which they live.

The university is now calling for teachers and members of the wider community to have a greater involvement in appraising the aims and values of education. Also discussed is the need to examine the use of business terminology and language in education and to acknowledge the dangers in treating “young people and their teachers as objects to be managed”.

Author, Professor Richard Pring of Oxford University explained, “The changes at 14-19 are too often driven by economic goals at the expense of broader educational aims. This is reflected in the rather impoverished language drawn from business and management, rather than from a more generous understanding of the whole person.

The Nuffield Review has also published Issues Paper 5, Guidance and Careers Education examining the careers education and guidance (CEG), or information, advice and guidance (IAG) available to 13-19 year olds.

He continued, “What are the qualities, attitudes, understandings and capacities which allyoung people should acquire through their education?”. We need to give young learners farmore than skills for employment alone, even if such skills are key to the country’s economy.”

Jason Seebaruth

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