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Monday, October 09, 2006

Boris Thinks Money Can Fix Education

Boris Johnson wants the most successful students at universities to be given cash rewards as both an incentive for students to work harder and to discourage universities from offering so many first class degrees. Mr Johnson hopes that businesses and alumni would provide for the funds for these rewards and for more scholarships for subjects that find it hard to recruit.

The power of money to motivate is greatly overestimated. If Boris can provide a sense of achievement to pupils who succeed so that more want to do so, that would be good.

For anyone to get any sense of achievement out of education, the national curriculum should be abolished. Schools and universities should be free to set their own standards and curricula.

Then the teachers would believe in what they were teaching, and their enthusiasm and commitment would communicate directly to the students.

The way to get education working is to get rid of outside intervention from government completely. Government has eroded the motivation of educators, and it is time for government to get the f*** out of it.

Boris is not showing soundness of judgement. If he thinks successful businesses motivate with money, he is wrong. Surely his time at the Spectator should have taught him that independence of mind, the opportunity to create ideas and to work alongside dedicated and interested people is the larger part of motivation to achieve.

Money is never as big a player as bureaucrats and governments wish it was. In the last ten years, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have proved it. They've doubled the cost of government from £800 million a day to approaching £1.6 billion a day and there is literally nothing to show for it. Throwing money into a negative situation only makes the it worse.

Boris is no doubt a great motivator to work alongside, but as yet he clearly has not found the way how to convert his creative mind into a managerial one. But then if he did, he wouldn't be able to fill the media with his charming gaffes every fortnight. Sadly being interesting and exciting and getting things to work are not often compatible.

1 comment:

John East said...

We all love Boris dearly, but I would be surprised to see him given any power in government. In opposition he can fulfil the role of the Conservative party's sense of humour, and I think it is also assumed that he appeals to the younger voter, although I'm not sure why.

I've not heard him say anything interesting about further education, but maybe it was drowned out by laughter.

Sadly, thats about it. I sound a bit negative towards him, but I don't mean to be. Good luck to him if he eventually makes it onto the government front bench.