Education: Who Is Really In Charge?

After the uprisings against the proposed rising of tuition fees back in the fall of 2010, a mentality for change has stuck in the minds of those in education. Facing £9000 a year fees, less teaching hours and exam reforms many students are finding the going in education tough. But together with a number of teachers, councils and FE colleges, a certain group of students seem inspired by the revolutionary attitudes of 2010’s protesters. And in a bid to make their education more self-aware, are starting to openly voice their concerns with the education system. 

After a quick browse around the student discussion forum, Student Room, the place seems tinted with a number of threads telling of student’s disgruntled experiences in education. In light of the recent GCSE marking fiasco – one student tells a story of being turned down by a number of universities because of an exam board who failed to mark his paper properly, leading him to fall into the boundary for fee changes.  “Why should I pay an extra £6000 because some examiner could not do their job?” he asks, to a blur of responses, but why realistically, should he have to have made this thread in the first place?

Last week, it was revealed an alliance of students; schools and councils are to take the exam boards behind GCSE examinations to court. But what you’ve got to question is, when those marking students papers can’t even do it properly, why have they become the ones in charge of our children’s education in the first place? Exam boards are profit-making companies – paid to do their job at a premium rate, but it’s mistakes like this that fall back on the state funded school system.

British education and its reputation are in demise because of these scandals – and now, the only people who are really able to save it are its students. They, after all, are the ones the stats in education relate to. Without the grades, schools cannot access the funding, and without the funding, well. But yet, it’s the students who seem to have been forgotten from the picture.

So, I argue it’s time students took back their education, the mindset is there, the ability isn’t lacking. These kids are educated, and know what they want from their learning experience – “we need to transcend beyond this point where education becomes about passing an exam,” says one student. 

In a recent study conducted by Movellas.com asking students about their experiences at school, a number of eye opening results came to light. 69% of students thought that pressures to pass exams stifled their own creativity, while 58% felt they could be pushed harder at school.

The system set in place is a Dickensian system of education, set on class boundaries, and rigorous assessment. And the tune ringing out, loud and clear from students is that they want change. It’s already hampering their creativity, and soon, it’ll come to harm their futures.

The battle now, is one between students themselves, and those who think they know in Whitehall. But, who really has the power to say which direction education should take? Realistically, it should the students in control of their learning.

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