It is said that you can judge a country by the way that it treats its children. Most countries provide schools and teachers to help children cope with the world. Then….it happens.
There are some basic tenets that become embedded within a country’s culture and are reflected in what they do with their children. Each one, each country is different. Australia’s organisation culture is quite unique, in an unpleasant and shameful kind of way, being much closer to the US minimum competency culture than to any other, much closer to a shared declining maverick kind than to successful schooling.
Our school system is not based on UNESCO principles and arrogantly breaches aspects of UNESCO’s Rights of the Child. Says the UNESCO Convention: “The importance for the Convention of the general programmes of UNESCO should not be overlooked. Human rights are indivisible: the promotion of individual rights cannot be pursued in isolation from the advancement of social and economic rights nor will the rights of children be fully respected in situations where adults are denied fundamental freedoms.” Australia clearly and deliberately breaches these democratic conventions. It keeps its adults in the dark in regard to the nature of NAPLAN testing, for instance, and has no inclination to change the rule. Parents’ fundamental rights to know that they have a choice for their children to do the test or not do the test are deliberately hidden; and schools are expected to keep this information secret unless they are asked. It is a shameful state of affairs.
On a scale that runs from “Care for kids” to “Abuse our kids” , Australia is much closer to the ‘abuse’ end than to the other. It abuses children by attacking their yen to learn, which is a natural instinct for children; and to make them uncertain about their abilities. Its centres for learning aka schools, are being operated using non-love tactics and dirty tricks . Fear has replaced Love as a motivator for learning; and is not working well.
Fear and its connection to wide-scale high-stakes testing, as introduced by the sandal makers. are embedded in school routines and the bunkum-based morphing of NAPLAN. Its use barks at basic child rights.
We can, therefore, add another dimension to Treehorn’s ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE table of Australia and compare it to democratic principled places rather than to Finland alone . If we stick to true-blue Aussie principles, we can donkey-lick the rest of the world in providing the richest life-style that there is, whenever we like……It’s such a pity that we have allowed the present state of affairs to happen.
WORLD : Love children. Respect childhood. Care for Kids. Provide holistic curriculum. Teach well. Do not abuse children. Educate them
AUSTRALIA: Gather children together. Keep critical information away from parents. Test pupils for literacy and numeracy levels. Keep testing and widen its influence. Hire people to check for and attend to shortfalls in achievement and mental health. Use every testucator available to maintain outcomes at the normal mediocre level.
We cannot afford to be proud of our efforts during the past decade. We should feel ashamed; and attempt to provide a decent schooling based on high levels of human rights and ethical behaviour. We need to take pride in the way we care for kids.
We know that the attempt to control schooling by fear has not worked.