Educate. The word itself has taken on such portent, such gravitas, that’s it’s hard to find a way to brook the subject without being weighed down by Athena’s legacy. Or is it? I write most days on a variety of education related matters and through that I’ve uncovered an unnerving truth, education in its purest form is extraordinarily simple.
Teaching may be incredibly difficult and complex and the less said about standardized testing, exam boards, Ofsted, the DfE the better, but education, the fostering and nurturing of growth and knowledge is a beautiful unsullied neverending rite of passage that gets clogged in the mire of politics and point scoring.
Today my seven year old starts back at school, next Monday my four year old goes into reception and when you see the wide eyed innocence, the empty vessels just waiting to be filled with thoughts, you see, in its purest form, the transformative power of education. But that the desire, that enthusiasm has nothing to do with the physical presence of a school and everything to do with interacting, being with others, speaking to people, using their imaginations, learning. It’s all too easy to be cynical about what has become a political hot potato but let’s imagine for a moment that education doesn’t begin and end at the school gates. Let’s imagine that education is a life long process that is far removed from school and is the driving force behind what we do, how we live, what we have spent generations striving for. Trying to understand our place in the world, what we can do to make it better and learn from the times we’ve made things worse.
That the human race has lost its way no one can reasonably deny, we’re standing on the precipice of irreversible climate change, an all out Holy war, an AI revolution or mass extinction through antibiotic resistance and that assumes North Korea don’t kickstart a nuclear holocaust beforehand. Maybe a little more education rather than more exams would give us half a chance of surviving.