BECTA on the offensive
Strong stuff from the new BECTA chair. In a blistering analysis on the wasted spend in schools, the new Chair of BECTA, Andrew Pinder, blamed the teaching profession as being the block on progress.
Schools a cottage industry
Every other area of human endeavour seems to have been made more efficient and effective through technology, yet education and training seem to be fossilised. Few teachers and trainers are using technology usefully, most of them hobbiests and enthusiasts. The reason? According to Pinder, education doesn't see itself as an INDUSTRY. It has lots of technology but few who know how to apply sensible business models. The system is stuck in a mode where the teacher in a classroom of 30 students is the primary delivery method. Teaching, in this sense is still a cottage industry, and as a cottage inustry, with power in the hands of individuals, progress has been impossible.
Profession is the problem
In the outside world, where technology has forced institutional reorganisation above that of the individual, we have seen massive increases in productivity. In schools, where power and budget is in the hands of the teaching 'profession' we have seen little progress. He sees the 'profession' as the problem. Professionals want control as individuals, want to do their own thing, and often refuse to be organised, or reorganised.
Schools, in his opinion, are organised in the wrong way. They need institutional reform, not management by individuals. One must separate the institution from its staff. In education the workers are in control and run the system for their benefit. They can't go out of business, are massively funded and supported by the state and have therefore have no reason to reform themselves. Reform must come from the outside.
He was also scathing about 'irrelevant research'. He has a point, as we seem to have lost our way here, with almost all useful research is now stateside.
Whiteboards - trivial
On whiteboardsm his views are clear - a minor if not marginal initiative that just reinforced the old 'teacher in front of a class' model. It is, effectively, and expensive enhancement of the Victorian blackboard (introduced around 1870!).
This looks like a good appointment. This guy has seen it from both sides, as a private and public sector manager. He's full of bold ideas and not scared to go on the offensive when he encounters 'professional' hubris.