Quality of Education: From Pockets of Excellence to Systemic Change

Decent Essays
With the findings of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey recently being released, the success of educational systems around the world has again been brought to the forefront of national discussions. This comparison of what 15 year olds in 65 countries know, mainly in the spheres of mathematics, science and reading is now being used as a leading benchmark to measure the quality of education across nations.
For me though this raises a key question that I see as an issue across educational systems of the world. What is the ultimate aim that we are striving towards when it comes to quality and excellence in education and is the measurement of literacy and numeracy skills an indicator enough that we are heading in the right direction when it comes to the development of our future generation?
Great educational thinkers over the years have tried to put a face on this ultimate aim of education. Two viewpoints that are of particular interest are that of Immanuel Kant and John Dewey. Kant believed education to be aimed at creating rational beings able to think autonomously and thus act as moral agents. He also went on to mention that by developing the moral character of individuals, an ideal political community could be established. (I.Kant, Lectures on ethics, trans. L. Infield, New York: Harper and Row, 1963) Dewey took these ideas further with concrete proposals on how school was life and the best way to create a democratic and humane society was to
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