Sunday 18 February 2018

What is education for? The Tories know.

You may have seen, heard or read that the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, is cooking up some kind of differentiated or graduated system of university fees, based at least in part on what he calls the 'economic value of the course to society' ! (I kid you not).

As someone who has spent his whole life being of virtually no 'economic' value to society, I'm very interested in what Damian Hinds' league table (!) of more or less economic valuable courses is going to tell us.

And surely doctors are pretty useless. What 'economic value' are they? They just prolong people's lives. What's the use of that? We need people to die the moment they stop being productive.

And why stop at the 'economic value' of a university course? (see Damian Hinds today). What about the economic value of each 'unit' (some fools still say 'child') from Nursery school onwards? C'mon, let's get productive.

In the 1960s some of us said that the trouble with education was that too much of it 'served the interests of capitalism'. We were of course loony lefties, anarchists, marxists and trots and so this outrageous, stupid conspiratorial idea could be dismissed.

Now in the 21st century we have  one Tory politician after another telling us that the purpose of education is to... be of economic value, to be productive (in economic terms) to compete with other countries. They're agreeing with what we said when we said education serves the interests of capitalism. Oh - except we said that this wasn't good. They're saying it's brilliant and we need more of it, and we need children to be assessed and trained and priced according to just how much they serve the interests of capitalism.

Fair enough. There isn't anything else that matters. Is there? Is there? there? Anyone there? Pick up. Pick up. Is there?