While I am not a fan of politics (at all), I do have a view on education (as I work in the field) and I think the views of the minister for education are a little naive;
Well my knee-jerk reaction to that is “Just because we don’t teach them about climate change/ invasion/ refugees/ war/ genocide doesn’t mean it won’t happen to them.”
I think that he has failed to understand that today’s children are born into a digital world, connected by an electronic umbilicus to the rest of their species (if not the natural world) and the main reason adults are failing to educate them is that we are educating them to survive in a world which does not exist any more. For example, the resistance to ‘text language’ (which I don’t like myself); kids use and speak this language daily, yet we insist it is wrong and they must learn ‘proper’ language. Isn’t the point of language to communicate? Maybe the real issue is that we (the older, 0.1 version of the species) are afraid of the speed at which the language is changing and fear we won’t be able to keep up.
While I agree that literacy and numeracy form the solid base on which education is built, what it means to be literate and numerate has changed and continues to change at an ever increasing rate. Today’s students are generally more technologically able than their teachers (I often ask a passing ten year old which button to press) and are able to access the entire knowledge of humanity at the click of a button (sometimes as many as three clicks, if it’s a difficult question). Old style teaching (chalk, board and the contents of one person’s head) seems a little irrelevant in the face of that ability.
I don’t see going backwards in teaching style as the answer, nor is trying to hold them back with us. Let’s accept that the skill base our children need to take them into adulthood is very different from the one we needed. Let them run (educationally) and we will follow as fast as we can; it’s the only way to educate minds that have escaped the prison of a single skull.