Tuesday, February 5, 2013

GERM is stifling creativity in education

In many countries today a lot of the political rhetoric in education revolves around competition, accountability and standardised testing. By running schools like companies and by encouraging competition, league tables and payment by results we ensure that the quality of education is improved and that weak schools and incompetent teachers will naturally fall by the wayside. There is little evidence however that running education on business lines has any positive influence on learning because learning is not something that can be inspired by control and standardisation.

As a perfect answer to this trend have a look at this TEDx talk by Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg. He talks about the biggest threat to education which he calls GERM (Global Educational Reform Movement). This is the movement that demands more competition, accountability and standardisation in education and has considerable influence in the education policies of many countries. The Finnish school system, however, is consistently at the top of most rating systems and has got there by simply not being business-like. No competition, empowered and well-paid teachers with considerable autonomy and no standardised testing are part of the recipe that has inspired educators and administrators from all over the world to look more closely at the "Finnish miracle".

In a world where a considerable part of many state schools' budgets is spent on advertising campaigns to compete with other state schools, it makes you wonder if tax money could be better spent in improving the learning going on there.

Thanks to my contact Lars-Erik Jonsson @Gulejon for alerting me to this.

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