The pace of change

The TED Talk above is great, but it scares me a little. Although it’s titled “What will future jobs look like?”, it goes much deeper than the usual ‘tomorrow’s jobs don’t exist yet’. Instead, he outlines the recent changes in work, earnings and society and considers where we might be headed. Although he is ultimately optimistic about the future, the reality we’re facing is still concerning.

There is a growing realisation amongst many that we need to change our education systems in order to meet the needs of our young people’s future, but that change is slow in coming. At least in Scotland we have a policy agenda which is pointing us in the right direction, but the reality in practice is that the actual changes are small and incremental. Anything more than incremental change is perhaps unrealistic in a complex system such as national education. Teachers, students, parents and the media are all people and people tend to prefer the status quo. That’s normal, but we must at least be careful that we don’t stop.

Curriculum for Excellence set a high standard for “transformational change”, and although it has achieved many good things, there is still a long long way to go in my opinion. The unsurprising truth is that whilst “transformational change” is what we need, it can’t be “implemented” in a year or two. It needs to be worked at, debated, adapted and developed by all involved and the reality is that the job will never be done. We need to accept that and not stress that we haven’t yet fully ‘implemented’ all of the Building the Curriculum documents. The most important thing is that we accept where we are and keep on working towards an education system which meets the needs of our young people, and, crucially, those who hold us to account need to accept this reality also.