Alan White Posted: 31 January 2012
So the objective of secondary education, according to Michael Gove, is a good job or university. (We'll skip over the illogicality that if university is an end in itself, why can't secondary education be an end in itself? Not everyone's gifts take them down the university route.)
Mr Gove described Professor Alison Wolf's report on vocational education as incisive, but in her interview on Radio 4's Today programme the Professor seemed a little hazy on the details of schools that had reportedly distorted their pupils' education by pushing them onto courses that would boost the school's league table results.
The Today programme joined in the mirth at the idea of a course on 'horse care'. Now living near Newmarket and having been born in Epsom, I thought this was patronising.
If courses aren't equivalent, then make them more rigorous. Don't tell students their subjects (not courses) don't count for anything. Professor Wolf did point out that hairdressing (the another headline example) was a route to a very satisfying career, which did at least provide some balance.
Our work on education shows the Bible taking a different view of wisdom, skills, ability and knowledge. Exodus 31 shows God equipping craftsmen to enable the people to worship him better. Jesus's view of shepherds - a description he takes to himself - contrasted to that of the New Testament leaders who looked down on anyone practising 'sheep care'. Let's improve education: but from God's perspective.