February 21, 2003
Government solves "boredom" problem

Another posting from Julius Blumfeld:

Some interesting news. According to School Standards Minister David Milliband speaking at a Conference on Wednesday:

Boredom is the biggest cause of pupils losing interest in school … Boredom is the bane of education. Boredom is the recruiting sergeant for disaffection, truancy and bad behaviour.

Funny that. Mr Milliband must have been speaking to Brian’s friend Sean Gabb who has this on his website:

We were given some money by the Department for Education [in 1994] to find out why children play truant. According to our findings, they do so mostly because they dislike the lessons. Those of my readers who have never been exposed to the Sociology of Education may think this an obvious answer. Before Dr O'Keeffe gave it, though, it was an answer quite absent from the literature. Every other cause imaginable had been discussed - from Original Sin to lead pollution – but never the true one.
Of course, this killed the project. The officials in the DfE wanted an excuse for having more educational welfare officers in public employment by the year 2000 than members of the armed forces; the politicians wanted an opportunity for more "Back to Basics" posturing. The O'Keeffe findings, with their unspoken and remote, but still discernable, corollary – that state education should be abolished - fitted neither agenda. Therefore, the funding was cut off.

On second thoughts, I don’t think Mr Milliband has been speaking with Sean Gabb. Mr Milliband’s solution is not to abolish state education. His solution is to spend more on it. His proposed reforms to tackle the problem of boredom include a "greater role for vocational training in schools", an "extended role for information technology” and, best of all, "longer opening hours and wider access during the holidays". Absolutely brilliant – children hate schools because they are boring. Solution? Keep the schools open for longer!

Sean Gabb for Minister of Education I say.

Julius Blumfeld
Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:39 AM
Category: Politics