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Enlightened Education

The right to information free of politics and religion

Go BackCollective • Contribution by Shane Collens

This may be stating the obvious but a good education system must provide information for advancement as well as survival. Every child, every person, has the right to information free of political interference and religious bias. The following thoughts are my personal experience of the knowledge I recieved and what I did not by the time I entered secondary school. We cannot describe the complexity of education in a few bullet points but I have tried to fit ideas into keywords that will open discussion and discovery.

The keywords

Some tools a young person leaving primary education may find useful if they were allowed to make choices at seconadry education in pursuit of their enjoyment of learning:

  1. Survival information
    1. Health
    2. Hygiene
    3. Nutrition
    4. Fitness
    5. Reproduction

  2. Advancement skills
    1. Language - communication and expression
    2. Numeric - mathematics, logic and calculation
    3. Social - co-operation, networkig, relationships
    4. Science - observation and evidence analysis
    5. Philosophy - reason and argument

  3. Culture (who are we? how we fit in!)
    1. Cosmology - universal scale, time and space
    2. History - natural and political (political includes religion)

  4. Civics - Community and Ethics
    1. (i) Individual and collective, rights and responsibilities
    2. (ii) Law and governance systems
    3. (iii) Public service, community awareness, mutual benefit
    4. (iv) "Co-operation" versus "Competition"

  5. Arts - dramatic, literal, performing, visual (creativity, expression and joy)

  6. Sport (sportsmanship, strategy and fun)
    1. personal physical/mental achievement/potential
    2. team participation/co-operative achievement/potential

  7. Crafts - applied arts, mechanical understanding, (technique, material properties)

  8. Enquiry
    1. Research skills (how to ask questions! where to look for answers!)
    2. Listening skills (something I wish my parents and teachers had more of)

      ... optional extra ...

    3. (c) Challenging skills (authenticate information, debate theory, question authority?)
    4. (d) Ducking skills (for questioning authority?)

I think by now we've all had quite enough school!

Plot their own course

I would like to think that by the time a young person reaches secondary education with the above armoury that they would be allowed to "specialise" and plot their own course. The insistence of perpetuating subjects no longer on the young person's agenda must contribute to the frustration experienced by both student and teacher to result in the breakdown of the student/teacher relations we see today.

In specialised secondary schools

Recognition must be given to young people for their ability to know their vocation at the end of primary school education and respect for their right to choose. A network of specialised secondary schools, distributed evenly in the community, instead of a the same type of school will serve to realise the purpose of "going to school" - to engage in the pursuit and enjoyment of knowledge with the focus they have chosen - a reason both students and teachers badly need for their effort.

For the future stake holders

The excuse that there is no room to facilitate all on the "curriculum" is just not good enough. Civics demands of the system to provide for the future stake holders, our young people, the best the current stake holders can provide today. May I suggest that Humanist thinking, or simply just good sense, must imply that our administration to date has not paid nearly enough attention to the budget required for this most important investment.

Our young people

I included the word "co-operation" in the above and, except for debate, excluded "competition" for which I blame the mediocrity our society continues to accept and foster in the arts. I have also deliberately not used the "Y" word in the above. The commonly used word "youth" is like referring to a "mutant", in which case the attention and budget our administration has afforded is about right! I prefer to use the phrase "young person" - which is how I used to see myself.

See Contribution : Denis SolomonVeronica CollensPhilip Fortune • Shane CollensLeonard Bernstein

See Collective Statement : TT Humanist : Forum : Commentary : Education

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