East Asian Illusions.

Education, Economy and Society

IMG-20140309-00049 (2)

Martin Allen    

(due to appear in Education for Liberation Journal of the Socialist Teachers Alliance, NUT Conference  April 2014)

Though his right-wing ideological credentials cannot be disputed; Michael Gove also continues to justify many of his curriculum changes in the context of the UK’s declining international economic performance and says we should import learning practices of economically high performing countries for inspiration, particularly those in East Asia, if UK economy is to ‘compete’.   As the 2010 White Paper The Importance of Teaching made clear.

‘…the emphasis on effort is particularly marked in the Confucian-heritage countries such as China, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The assumption here is that deep engagement with subject matter, including through memorisation where appropriate, leads to deeper understanding.’ (8.6) and ‘Hong Kong… as with South Korea and Singapore also operates with a curriculum model focusing on “fewer things in greater depth”.’ (8.10)


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