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  • Lily Hobday (UKSCN)

Congratulations on your grade 9, but will you live to see your 50th birthday?

On the Wednesday prior to the general election, my comprehensive secondary school declared that it would be holding a mock election. We would each be given our own ballot paper, practically identical to the one our parents would be looking at the very next day, and be expected to cast our vote. Sounds like a well-planned, educational experience, right?

As I walked the corridors, questioning peers on the news, I was met with many perplexed faces. The majority of fellow pupils I talked to complained that they 'knew nothing about politics', and felt they were unable to truly vote based on their values due to not being aware of the party's policies. Unfortunately, this reaction was not surprising. For those who don't choose to do Citizenship GCSE, politics is only brushed upon in year 9 at my school. I can recall merely breezing over the basics, not even touching upon capitalism, socialism and the EU.


As well as politics, education on vital topics such as finance, LGBT+ relationships, mental well-being, and the law and justice system are either inadequate or non-existent. To put it simply, the education system in the UK is propelling young people into an adult world in which they cannot grasp.


One of the most, if not the ultimate issue facing youth today is the climate crisis, which is yet another highly critical subject neglected by the English Curriculum. This is backed up by research, carried out by XR, that has discovered that a student could easily go through state education, and hear climate change mentioned in fewer than 10 lessons out of approximately 10,000 (depending on their GCSE options). These results are horrific considering the climate catastrophe looming ahead. If a student chooses to take Geography as a GCSE, like myself, then the climate crisis is mentioned slightly more, but it does not come anywhere close to translating the real severity of the crisis; I think back to a particular geography lesson in year 10 where I was told to respond to the question 'Describe how the recent acceleration in global warming may be due to natural factors'.


This example of prioritizing marks over facts is a telling sign that our current education system is in fact a thriving exam-factory, pumping trivial knowledge into our brains until we succumb to the pressure. Congratulations on your grade 9, but will you survive to see your 50th birthday? We, the youth, have demanded immediate action from the Government to tackle the impending climate crisis, and won't stop doing so into until climate justice is rightfully met. Now, however, we must also campaign to reform the education system, as we are the ones who will actively have to sustain a greener society in the future, and yet our current education is not reflecting that. We need to teach the future, because we are the future.

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