On Monday I suggested that twitching should be one of the competitive sports which gets its two hours a week in English primary schools, but today I’ll try to be a bit more serious about the subject.
I tend to steer clear of education as a topic as there is a tendency for all of us to think that we are experts on the basis that we all went to school!
Education is training – training for life. I guess the point of the educational system should be to make us all happier. It benefits the recipients of the education but it also benefits Society as a whole. We can’t all be doctors or wildlife writers but it is generally a better world if a few of us are. That’s why we invest huge amounts of our shared money in the education system.
Some of education is about learning useful stuff – like reading and writing and ‘rithmetic – but some is about learning how to approach life. I would like the education system to produce young adults who can think and question why the world is how it is.
I’m glad that David Cameron has a temporary enthusiasm for sport but I wish he’d develop a stronger enthusiasm for science. I wish we had more decision-makers, from MPs to civil servants, who properly understand the natural world from radiation to food chains. We have to live our lives according to the laws – the laws of physics, chemistry and biology. All that other stuff – literature, sport, economics, history, politics etc – fascinating though it is, and important though it may be, is really just the human froth we have imposed on the natural world around us. And the trouble is, and it is a trouble, we spend so much of our time thinking about the froth and not about climate change, drought, biodiversity loss. overfishing, non-native species etc
I don’t want education to turn out more professional scientists (we probably have plenty) but I would love there to be many more scientifically literate voters and decision-makers. So let’s hope that two hours compulsory sport doesn’t allow us to win gold in the stadium whilst losing goldfinches, goldcrests and golden eagles in the world around us.