23 March 2007

From the archives: Compulsory education beyond 16

Debate needed on possible methods for enforcement

Via Not Saussure: the debate has started, with "education Asbos" and fixed penalty fines apparently on the menu.

By the way, I'm not sure I agree with NS's view that <it’s better for young people to be educated rather than not> is "a decent-sounding idea". This obviously depends on what you mean by "education", but I would query whether everyone benefits from secondary education, even in its pre-ideologised form. A sacred cow which I reckon it is time to put on the stand.




Originally published 18 Jan 07.
For background see earlier post and discussion at The Grauniad.

Painting by Delaroche, courtesy National Gallery London.

7 comments:

james higham said...

Lady Jane I believe?

Fabian Tassano said...

Yes, Lady Jane, well spotted.

not_saussure said...

Thanks for the link. As to whether it's better for young people to be educated that not, it does, indeed, depend on what you mean by 'education;' if I'd have meant 'to be in a secondary school or FE college,' then that's what I'd have said.

All I meant was that it's generally better to know things or to be able to do them than not to know them or how to do them. It's better to be able to read Latin or play the piano than not to be able so to do, but that doesn't mean I'm particularly bothered because most people can't.

Fabian Tassano said...

Well, I think the whole education-is-a-good-thing (college, school, kindergarten, babycare) shibboleth needs a very thorough examination. It has become a no-brainer weapon for the interventionistas.

"It's better to be able to read Latin or play the piano than not to be able so to do."
I'm not sure whether that's generally true, even if achieved without the aid of the state.

Paul said...

There seems to be near-universal recognition that raising the school-leaving age will be A Bad Thing. Even among the comments on The Grauniad article you linked, there was only one by an apologist, and he/she/it was a delightful example of an ignorant ideologue (apparently unaware of the distinction between the claimant count and the unemployment rate). Shame they closed the thread before you could fisk it.

not_saussure said...


"It's better to be able to read Latin or play the piano than not to be able so to do."
I'm not sure whether that's generally true, even if achieved without the aid of the state.


Someone might well find they derive pleasure or advantage from such accomplishments, possibly not immediately but at some point in the future. Quite possibly they won't, of course, but if they can't, they've no way of finding out.

I can't, though, think of any particular reason why it would be advantageous not to be able to do these things, unless it's because the time spent learning them might have been better spent doing something else, which may well be the case.

It's not a big deal; it's just I can far more easily imagine circumstances in which someone says, 'I'm glad I can read Latin' than in which he says 'I'm glad I can't read it'.

Fabian Tassano said...

I suppose my point is that education has costs even for the individual being educated, and not just the time lost - e.g. psychological costs. And for many people those costs can easily outweigh the puny or non-existent benefits. This is one good reason why people should not be coerced into education, certainly not after 16 when they're perfectly able to make up their own minds.

I think one should be very wary of justifications which depend on people claiming, after having been forced to do something which they wouldn't have chosen, "I appreciate the benefits of having been forced". (Not that I'm suggesting you're making this argument.)