To see our Manifesto on The Economy check out the video below
How to Fix Education
How to Fix Education (Video Script)
Many people do not realise the reason we have a 6 week summer holiday for pupils and teachers. It is because in the previous century children were used for the summer harvest, basically as slave labour. Fortunately, child slavery has been abolished, but not the summer holidays. There is no reason for the summer holidays being so long or for teachers to have so much holiday during the year. Under our education reform manifesto we would do the following to fix the education system:
- Teachers are professionals and should get paid and work like professional white-collar workers. They should work 9 til 5 weekdays only, like other professionals. They should have between 25 and 30 days holiday per year.
- Teachers should only teach because that is what they are good at. They should not mark or do any subject preparation, this should be done by the teaching support staff, including training teachers. Teachers should have at least 3 teaching skills, a main subject such as English or Maths and a creative or life skill, such as music, computers, economics or politics.
- Pupils from secondary school onwards shall work 9 to 5 to prepare them for real life. The morning part of the day shall be for academic education and the afternoon shall be for creative and career-based training, to train each pupil for life or University.
- The academic subjects shall include Maths, English, Economics, Finance, English law, English culture, Internet security, general science, nutrition and health, politics and current affairs.
- Many of the academic subjects, although in the classroom, should be taught centrally over Zoom to all UK classrooms, so that the curriculum and delivery is consistent. The teacher will then enforce and test the learning in the class and over zoom. This gives student who are unable to attend due to incapacity or illness a chance to still take part. All session will be recorded for students to catch up if they cannot attend. This will keep the whole country in step, and everyone gets the same an appropriate education. Those who fall behind can catch up online.
- Afternoon sessions will be based on the interest of students and any activity they like or could excel in. It would cover all sports, online skills such as gaming and website design, fashion, music, acting, driving and any skills needed for a future career. We should try to seek out as early as possible pupils that excel in certain areas, such as football, golf, gaming, go-cart racing or music. Pupils that have no interest in any creative activity would provide support to all the afternoon activities in their school or a local hub, learn first aid, provide services to the local community or similar useful skills.
- Schools would be arranged into hubs, so that between each hub all facilities can be provided for the region, e.g. one school specializes in football, another in music, another in acting etc, so that between the hub all activities could be covered. In the afternoon the pupils would be taken to the hub school of their activity. An activity would be provide for if more than 10 students across the hub want to explore an activity and the activity could lead to a career.
- Technology would be used as much as possible including biometrics for class attendance and all school activities.
- Each school will have a computer centre, kitchen, gym and sports facilities as well as specialized facilities required for that hub. A school will become a revenue centre and run 24/7. The kitchen can become a café and offer cheap places to eat for the local economy on a 24/7 basis, outside of school lunch. The gym and sports facilities will allow members of the public on 24/7 basis except in afternoons during the creative hours. Outside of school hours the computer room would be used for revenue related activities such as financial trading on global markets, Bitcoin training or training in other computer skills. The school will be run by business managers rather than Headmasters, with a view to optimizing the revenue streams of the school. Headmasters will do what they are good at and manage and optimize the teaching staff, recruit teaching staff and ensure staff are trained in between their lesson schedule, liaise with other schools in their hub to optimize logistics for afternoon activities and to teach where staff are absent.
- Each school will become a centre of excellence in the community as well as a revenue centre. No child shall have any excuse that they didn’t get a good, balanced and useable education. Where there are difficult and disruptive children, each hub shall have a dedicated building to provide special attention and support to encourage these pupils to work their way back into mainstream education.
Reference 1 – Article on Cureent educational issues by Prospects
Reference 2 – Benefits of Facilities in Schools & Colleges Article by Absolute Performance
Reference 3 – Benefits of Zoom calls/ online lessons for Education by Duke Learning Innovation
Reference 4 – The importance of a café on campus by The Chicago Maroon
How to Fix Universities
How to Fix Universities (Video Script)
Universities are expensive to run, so can’t be available for free. They also should not be paid for by the taxpayer as not all taxpayers use Universities. Most people who attend Universities are not taxpayers.
Universities are not value for money as the terms are short and the holidays and breaks long. Even with short terms most courses do not require student attendance every day, or even work more than 4 hours on any day. This is inefficient and gives student more time to be distracted or loose focus or interest in their courses. It is also not realistic preparation for the real world.
Covid has also shown that a lot of learning can be done remotely. Unless the University system is rationalised it will collapse and only Universities like the Open University will survive or the other surviving Universities will be full of foreign students and rich students, which is not to the advantage of the great UK young Intellectual talent. UK Universities should be moulding UK grown talent regardless of their social or financial status.
Universities also offer courses that are not beneficial for a career or are too niche to add good value to students or their chance of entry into a long-term career. Many courses are there because of historic reasons or educational politics and have not been modernised to keep pace with evolving technologies or the modern global society. Also, often the entry level into a degree course is based more on financing considerations rather than thecalibre of students. The University system is currently broken, ineffective and inefficient. Many students leave University disillusioned and often pursue a career that is not in the field of their degree. Unless it is fixed many Universities will go under and the UK will lose its reputation as an innovative and progressive nation. This is how NONPOL would optimise the University system.
- The University term shall run from 01 September to 15 August, with the annual two weeks break used by the University and lecturers for onboarding of new students. There will be one week holiday at Christmas and around Easter.
- Students will study, with more than 50% as face-to-face attendance, for 40 hours per week.
- Degrees will be achieved in one year, rather than three. This is more efficient and much cheaper for the student.
- More than 50% of degree places MUST be underwritten by industry. For example, a degree in Chemistry will be underwritten by pharmaceutical and chemical companies and ensure the curriculum was current for the industry. These places will be free to the student’s, as the courses will be paid by a sponsoring company. In return the student will sign a 3-year employment contract with the company. This gives the student a guaranteed job at the end of their degree and gives a company an appropriately trained employee. If the student leaves before 3 years, they will need to pay for the cost of the degree. This approach also allows the industry to define what the course content should include. Furthermore degrees that have no industry investment have no real-life value and will stop.
- The remaining places on the course can be filled by foreign students, but at a higher premium price and other student that want to pay for the course. We would ensure foreign students would not be allowed to take courses in evolving technologies, such as AI or industries where Intellectual Property and new ideas can be stolen, such as in the field of engineering. We need to stop training foreign students in leading-edge technology for them to go back home and be in competition with our companies.
- It is critical that the calibre of University students are consistently high. Each student, UK or foreign, must take a University entrance test, like a driving test before they can even apply for a University place. Furthermore, any non-native English-speaking students will have to pass an English oral exam. Bright students should not be held back by students struggling with the English language.
- Student attendance, both local and virtual,who be verified via biometrics and attendance would form part of the graduation criteria.
We suspect that a number of the lesser Universities will fail due to their inability to attract industry sponsors or students of sufficient calibre. This will take us back to the days when University attendance was an achievement and an honour and only those with the skills and commitment achieve a degree. We suspect that there will be fewer University students per year but with a degree being achieved in one year, itwould mean more degrees will be achieved in the long run, but with the knowledge that the level of the degree being higher and the majority of the graduating students walking straight into a job.
Besides improving the Universities for the benefit of the UK students of the future, the Universities would follow a similar strategy of our Fix Education strategy in that the University would be strongly incentivised to run 24/7 and become a revenue stream by running its facilities for the local community and local businesses. In particular Universities shall be encouraged to run evening training for previous generations that were not fortunate to get a good education or learn a trade. Universities would be encouraged to put UK first.