Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Article excerpt

Anyone who believes that the anti-competitive ethos in state schools originates with a handful of ideologues in our local authorities should take time to study the United Nations output on education.

The UN Commission on Human Rights's 'special rapporteur on education' recently attacked British schools for being too competitive. Katarina Tomasevski, a Swede, complained that the Department for Education's regime of tests for seven-, 11-, 14- and 16-year-olds breaches Article 29 of the Human Rights convention. Forcing children to sit down and take exams, she says, perverts the aims of education, which should be 'directed to the development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential'. The government's obsession with target-setting, she added, makes children 'hostages' of a 'highly political battle' between ministers and teachers.

Oddly enough, the UN sees nothing wrong in setting targets and making children sit tests when it comes to advancing its own programmes. …

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