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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Barry Jones on education « Previous | |Next »
May 30, 2007

Barry Jones has an op-ed in The Age, which is from an edited text of his dean's lecture for the faculty of education at the University of Melbourne last night. That lecture, which is not online, was entitled 'Education: Creativity, values, equity and changes in society'. The lecture should be online. What is wrong with our universities?

John Spooner

The extract makes interesting reading in the light of the poorly educated unskilled being rusted on Coalition supporters for its educational policies. I'm unsure why that is so.

Jones says that:

The age of the information revolution — which should have been an instrument of personal liberation and an explosion of creativity — has seen public policy dominated by managerialism, the "public good" replaced by "private benefit", the decline of sustained critical debate on issues, leading to gross oversimplification, the relentless dumbing down of mass media (linked with the cult of celebrity), substance abuse, the rise of fundamentalism and an assault on reason.The "knowledge revolution" ought to have been a countervailing force: in practice it has been the vector of change.

Succinct and sharp. But he takes it no further. That's the disappointment. It is also unclear what is meant by the "knowledge revolution" as distinct from the information revolution.

Jones goes on to say that many liberals in the social democratic tradition:

believed, and still continue to hope, that public education would be an instrument for personal and societal transformation. But education often seems to entrench or reinforce existing abilities, or disabilities, advantages or disadvantages.

Maybe the social democrats were asking too much of a free public eduction-- that would also be an education for personal responsibility-- as a driver of progressive social change. Jones could have explored how the internet and personal computers have transformed education in terms of making students both more autonomous and more connected to the public issues of the day. They have enabled an education outside of the school.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:11 AM | | Comments (1)


Certain things will always baffle me about election 2004.
The obvious one would be the undermining of Latham by Lennon and the Tasmanian CFMEU forestry division, and others skulking in the background.
But closely following closely would be the media's and electorate's response to Latham's forthright attempt to restore fairness to the education system.
What should have been a rallying cry, not just for Laborists but anyone fond of Democracy in Australia, became a killing ground for the ALP's and democracy's aspirations.