Mr Gove said in Parliament
that “countries such as Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Hong Kong, Alberta and South Korea all recognise the need to reform their education systems” to justify reforming UK education. However, the reforms that five of these countries propose run counter to Mr Gove’s proposals.
: in 2009 introduced an Education Act which would ensure that municipal and independent schools would be governed by the same regulations as much as possible. (No different rules for different types of school in Sweden)
: lists 21st century skills necessary for the globalised world: Civic literacy, global awareness and cross-cultural skills; Critical and inventive thinking, and Information and communication skills
: reformed their education slowly and with consensus over many years. They have a winning formula – why should they reform it?
: has rejected a content-based curriculum.
listed these competencies for the 21st century: high levels of literacy and numeracy together with Critical Thinking and Problem Solving , Creativity and Innovation, Social Responsibility and Cultural, Global and Environmental Awareness, Communication, Digital Literacy, Lifelong Learning, Self-Direction and Personal Management, Collaboration and Leadership.
Compare the above with the Education White Paper
, a particularly dreary document especially when compared with Singapore’s vision.
If Mr Gove really wanted to emulate the countries he has listed, then the Education White Paper should say more about 21st century skills than curriculum content, floor standards, Academies, Free Schools and the rest. He is looking back to the future – the countries above are looking forward.