Time to take the Portuguese approach?

It’s that time of the week again!

The 3rd episode of Jamie’s Dream School aired and it brought up a couple of issues. Some I’ve already discussed, like discipline.  But, it got me thinking about something else.

Is the current testing system right? Should the UK consider changing its current system to one that resembles the Portuguese?

In Portugal you get tested every year, and if you fail more than 3 disciplines then you have to repeat that year until you pass enough subjects.  This works quite well for a couple of reasons; (a) it provides regular progress so people are aware of where they are in terms of development and knowledge, and (b) teaches students that there are consequences to not studying or paying attention.  So there is an incentive to pay attention or at least try enough to pass – i.e. the embarrassment of being left behind.

It’s not without its downsides though – too much testing and the demotivating factor of not doing well in certain subjects can push people away from those subjects.

However, it does ensure that people know the basics in maths and languages (Portuguese/English).  I am astounded that at 16/17/18 people still struggle with basic maths – that is the level of knowledge I would expect at 7 or 8.

Kids are stopping their education without an understanding of the basics making them less attractive in what is already a crappy job market.

Clearly a lot needs to be done, but we should be taking steps to ensure that if they choose to leave education after 16 then they have employable skills.

On a separate note, one of the incidents in the show displays one of the key issues with kids (and a lot of society nowadays) – they want to enjoy their rights from society without having carrying out their responsibilities towards it.

You can watch the full episode here.


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