The financial crisis and the current Banking furore illustrates our failure to educate for ‘Service for the Nation’. An understanding inbuilt in citizens of the benefits they receive from society and their responsibility for it, together with an appreciation of how this impacts global societies.
We seem to have lost this quality in ourselves and it is increasingly degrading our Quality of Life.
On it depends our survival as a coherent society with an acceptable Quality of Life for all.
Here are some of my thoughts
A 21st Century National Service
The UK Government has introduced a requirement for 11 year olds, starting secondary education in September 2009 to stay in Education or training until they are 18.
There is currently much debate about how this translates into positive outcomes and Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, which is the outcome least required as we shift paradigms into the OPW. A 2005 OFSTED report finding that only 12% of 19 to 30 year olds interviewed thought that school had enabled them to be creative or understand risk.
In addition the change to fee paying in Further and Higher Education has led to most learners deciding to stay local to complete their education.
Similarly, with no form of National Service, young people not in continuing education experience no other input than their local area and as a result, in most cases, have no expectations beyond their limited boundaries. There is clear evidence that this is causing a dependency culture and an underclass, as is being widely reported.
So where do we stand at the start of a new decade and halfway through the UN Decade for sustainable Development 2005-2014?
It can be stated
◦ There is a wide spread of achievement output from the UK’s Education System
◦ This is aimed at satisfying a paradigm that no longer exists.
◦ This results in high youth unemployment.
◦ Leading to disaffection and continuing underachievement.
◦ And withdrawal from involvement in the wider society
◦ Causing violence and crime, fuelled in many cases by drugs.
Clearly, increasing the age of compulsory education will have no effect on this vicious circle unless we recognise the paradigm we need to educate for is shifting rapidly as we move into the One Planet World.
We have to recognise, as stated throughout this article that education has to liberate the creativity that will enable citizens to help create the OPW within the UK. This can only be achieved through ‘service above self’.
This is not the politically correct thing to say at this time, but it is central to any future that can be envisaged in a UK of around 70 million citizens.
Our conception of National Service is coloured by its compulsory and in many cases arbitrary nature, where outcomes were not tailored to the needs of individuals, or even society.
This is not the aim of Service for the Nation; the aim is to provide rounded citizens with a range of knowledge and skills appropriate to their talents and the creativity to use them effectively and efficiently in helping create the One Planet World.
This does not mean that military service will not be part of the mix for those attracted to such service and we need to acknowledge the part played in current conflicts by our young people.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel as there are service organizations, Scouts etc. who know how to create future citizens and leaders that we can use as templates.
These things are critical
◦ There must be an element of compulsion for all to contribute in their own way.
◦ There must be a controlled but significant element of risk.
◦ Service should be away from home for realistic periods
◦ Learning and work undertaken must result in value added to society.
◦ All must have access to achieve to laid down standards
◦ Rank must be available for significant leadership ability.
Many will argue that this cannot be afforded but the real question is “can we afford, not to be able to afford it?” – if the alterative is societal collapse.