W.B. Yeats is credited with saying, ‘education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire’. Unfortunately, if the results of three research studies released this week are taken literally, our children are likely to be unfit exam-cramming French-speaking ne’er do wells without a hope of getting a job; there will be no need to call in the fire brigade.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has analysed data spanning 46 years and involving more than 25 million children in 28 countries. On average children today run a mile 90 seconds slower than their parents did 30 years ago.
Meanwhile a report published by the British Council, calls on policymakers to introduce a broader range of languages into every child’s education. It concludes that Arabic is a more important language for children to learn in school than French and that Mandarin is more vital than German to the UK over the next 20 years.
Of perhaps the greatest concern, however, is the warning by John Cridland of the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) that current school reforms risk creating ‘exam robots’. As GCSE coursework is being almost completely phased out, marking a return to make-or-break exams at the end of two years of study, he says he fears the education system of the future is concerned with filling buckets and will not prepare young people for the world of work. He said, ‘Employers want young people who are enthusiastic, confident, creative and resilient.’
As an employer, Admiral would agree with this sentiment. We go out of our way to select employees with more than just the necessary qualifications. We look for that extra spark as well. Although rigorous attention to detail is vital, we look for creative fire to help us to help our clients realise their goals. It is our job to be imaginative and thoughtful, and to translate a client’s marketing strategy into an inspiring and cohesive campaign.
For this reason we are particularly proud of our latest accolade: Georgie Cameron has just been named winner of the Best Creative category at the Women into the Network [WIN] Awards. This follows on from our gold award as the CIPR Outstanding Consultancy of the Year and confirms that we are on the right track.
In the end, the move from course work to exams will certainly have an impact on the educational experience, as would a widening of the range of languages and an increase in physical exercise within the curriculum. Ultimately, though, it is worth remembering that creative talent cannot be crafted by government policy.