In Britain we don’t have a written constitution, and this is something which many of those who believe in democracy find rather challenging.
There is no point at all in setting out guiding principles if they are going to be ignored or not adhered to. However, a constitution could bring forth a clear set of shared values for the governance of the country and the development of a truly democratic society.
When setting up a charity or even a business, one has to develop a constitution or consider what the aims and objectives are going to be which will guide the work or organisation.
The National Health Service has a written constitution. It states categorically the rights of the patients, and protects the NHS workers from abuse. It outlines clear modes of behaviour and intentions with which patients and practitioners have to comply.
Does education have the same sort of constitution? Is there anywhere where we set out in clearly accessible language the entitlement, the accountability, the aims, the value for money, the rights of the child for a quality education that will lead them into a lifetime of learning?
Although there are guiding principles outlined in education acts, and entitlement is evident within this, there is no document that collates the principles of education in this country, and it is something that would be of enormous value.
Why isn’t there such a document? If various governments have deemed it important and vital for the NATIONAL Health Service, then why has this not been developed for the NATIONAL Education Service too?
If we were fortunate enough to develop such a constitution, then what would be the fundamental statements within it? What do we want for children? What would be the actual entitlement for every young person in the land?
Let us consider, therefore, the possible content of such a constitution.
An example of the Basic Aims of Education can be found on our most recent post in
3di in Focus – http://www.3diassociates.com/b_focus.htm
But how about an education constitution that covers some of these points?
- The development of the whole personality and all of our intelligences, equally
- The development of truth and justice, self-esteem and a sense of responsibility
- The contribution and recognition of a truly multi-cultural society
- The acquisition of key knowledge, skills and attitude for a healthy mind and body
- The acquisition of key knowledge and skills to become numerate and literate
- The development of respect and the nurturing of creativity
- The conservation of the environment, nationally and internationally
- A commitment to lifelong learning for a full and active life
- Equal opportunities in ALL in education irrespective of age, race, sex, disability, gender, social status or economic position
- Statutory duties for parents and carers and an entitlement to a minimum number of years of education
- Co-education as statutory
- The recognition of the status and importance of teachers
- The development as teachers as leaders of communities
- Autonomy for educational institutions
- The understanding and recognition of local needs and accountability
- The maintenance and enhancement of libraries, museums and community buildings for all
- Political and religious impartiality in schools and other educational settings
Could we have such a thing?
Please read more in our 3Di Focus for further comments on this subject, and the truth behind the origins of a Basic Act of Education.