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David Puttnam

Lord Puttnam contributes to BERA blog

Lord Puttnam contributes to BERA blog

07 September, 2015

“The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one.”- Will McAvoy, ‘The Newsroom’, 2012. 

This should be extremely obvious, yet within our education system, we face a huge problem:

96% of college principals believe their institutions are preparing young people for the world of work yet only 14 % of recent college graduates agree. Less than 12% of business leaders believe that the graduates they employ have the skills they need to build their businesses.

If the gap between those who believe themselves to be doing the educating and those who believe themselves to be educated is this wide, we’re clearly doing something wrong. This is not just a gap; it’s a gulf and we need to focus on closing it.

In the UK, we have a youth unemployment rate of 18.4 %, which is, by no means the worst youth unemployment rate in EU member states, but it is not the best either. Today, too many young people find themselves looking at the world without a map, unable to gauge any sense of direction for their futures. It is our job, as educators, to start drawing that map for them and start creating a world that they can understand better.

if we were to take a teacher from their classroom in 1915 and place them in a modern-day classroom, they would still be able to deliver what we recognize to be a lesson

If we were to remove a world-class doctor from his practice in 1915 and place him in an operating theatre today in 2015, he would be completely incapable. The world of medicine has developed and advanced in the last 100 years, to the extent that it would be no longer recognizable to even the very best in medicine. However, if we were to take a teacher from their classroom in 1915 and place them in a modern-day classroom, they would still be able to deliver what we recognize to be a lesson.

My question is- how is it that these extraordinary developments have taken place in the world of medicine but remain to be seen in the world of education?

Luckily- we do have a tool, and that tool is called ‘digital’. Teachers understand and value the power of technology, and this year, there were 10 TES resources downloaded by teachers every second. Clearly, the very best teachers are using the very best technology to improve. This is not just a theory, this is a teacher led digital revolution and it incredibly overdue.

I’d like to conclude with my opening statement:

 “The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one.”

Now that we have established that there is a problem, our next question must be- “how are we going to solve it?”

David Puttnam 

Read the article on BERA's blog...

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