Mary Bousted and 21st century skills

Filling the pail

In an article for the Times Educational Supplement, Dr. Mary Bousted, a leader of the National Education Union in the UK, makes a number of arguments that are critical of the education system in England and that promote ’21st century skills’. The first notable claim is about the priorities of other countries:

“Countries that have been lauded by England’s education ministers because of their high rankings in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) league tables are now moving away from narrowly academic curriculums.”

What exactly does this prove? If these countries have gained strong results in the past then that is because of what they have done in the past. If they have now decided to change their priorities then that may make their education systems better or worse. Whatever they decide to do in the future cannot possibly be responsible for how they have performed in…

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