Saturday, May 24, 2014

Values for money

Something I've just run across in the course of research: a brief passage from a critique of the English [sic*] educational system by Geoffrey Vickers:

"Although education costs money and although it shows in the long run an economic return, there is an insuperable antipathy between education and commercialism. We [in England] start with this handicap. Something vital in the character of a nation lies in the answer to the question – which of its public services is a model to the world? Our plutocracy is world famous for its – police."
Geoffrey Vickers, "Education, War, Change" (18 December 1939), Institute of Education (London), Fred Clarke archive, MOO /13, p 5.

Something else just run across, from about the same time and on a similar theme: a comment from a paper by Harold Dent, at the time editor of the Times Educational Supplement.

"Our present systems of education...are highly undemocratic. They are socially stratified to a degree, and they present the very essence of inequality of opportunity. They offer adequate training only to the few, and their basic philosophy is that not of a democratic, but of an acquisitive and competitive society, in which the prizes are privilege, power, and the well-filled purse."
H. C. Dent, "Reform in Education" (16 May 1942), Institute of Education (London), Fred Clarke archive, MOO /81, p 1.

*"We are worse off in this respect [i.e., having ‘enough education of the right kind’] than most of the smaller and poorer democracies. [...] Scotland is the poorer half of the United Kingdom – and the better educated." (Vickers, p 5).

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