Poor education investment could lead to long-term social challenges

Jun 04, 2012
Dr. Marc Pruyn

During a recent visit to the Universidad de Chile to conduct workshops on educational leadership to school principals, Dr Marc Pruyn from the Faculty of Education sat down for an interview with Christian Silva Abuyeres from the Chilean newspaper Factor Publico. The following article (translated by Olivia Ramos-Campa and Dr. Pruyn) appeared in the paper in May.

In your opinion, what are the main education problems in Chile?

I have concerns regarding the teaching profession – here in Chile and elsewhere in the world – especially around the recruitment of high-quality teachers and having a high-quality curriculum. This is a serious problem.

There are also other problems in Chile, and around the world, regarding the efficacy of public versus private : deciding who can afford private education or not, who should pay for it and who should not, who should be enrolled in university and who should not. From my perspective, the funding of high-quality public education, from primary through tertiary, is an absolute must.

Is it important that teachers be satisfied with their work?

It is of utmost importance. Teachers should have the power, and tools, for controlling their own profession. They should have strong unions so they can have a representative voice that can link them with the parents’ groups, administrators, and with the education ministry.

How do you feel about the fact that educational professionals do not receive competitive salaries compared with ‘developed’ countries?

This is relative. For instance, the United States is going through a similar situation. Teachers are having their salaries cut and are being made ‘redundant’ because of problems not caused by them, such as the Global Economic Crisis (GFC).

In contrast, in Finland and Japan, teachers receive higher wages - hence, they get more respect and status (and can survive on their wages). The idea is that people should be aware of the importance of the teaching profession, and as a consequence teachers should have good salaries, benefits, a strong union, and the government’s respect.

The wages in Chile are very poor - it is a shame. All these problems are contingent on the importance that people and the government place on education. It has to be decided how to allocate educational resources, whether to invest in materials, schools, and teachers’ preparation so that when teacher education students finish their studies they can find good opportunities.

Without actually investing in education in these ways – and public education in particular – governmental interest in educational themes becomes a matter of hollow rhetoric, and it shows a lack of respect for the profession of teaching. It is important – for all members of society – to take a stand, realise the significance of this matter and make change.

What is the correlation between a solid primary school preparation and the professional success of individuals later in life?

There is a direct connection between them, because everything starts during the primary years. That’s when you start reading and writing. And it is where the first social relationships start; it is when you have friends and classmates, when you face an external authority - teachers. This is a time when positive connections can be made, and it creates the opportunity of a healthy start as a social being. It would not be a sound beginning, and lead to a good end, if you are in a school with a lack of resources with an unhappy, tired, underpaid teacher, and in a crowded classroom in bad conditions.

Which countries have the best education standards?

Australia and Canada are successful cases, because both of them have focused on offering relatively good salaries and autonomy for teachers. This has not been, necessarily, an act of altruism or solidarity on the parts of either the Australian or Canadian governments, but because teachers’ unions, other sympathetic workers, and certain political parties have struggled over the years to make this a reality.

And, it needs to be noted, teachers and academics are increasingly coming under economic attack as the GFC extends to these countries and conservative governments seek to recuperate funds from public workers.

Australia and Canada have also improved the requirements to enter teacher education courses. They look not only for scores and knowledge, but also for the behaviour to work with students coming from different cultural backgrounds and circumstances, and for skills to establish good relationships with parents. They understand that the teaching profession should have an excellent level of preparation because of the great level of responsibility on kids’ futures. But again, some of these gains of the past ten years are under threat with the rise of neoliberal schemes: national testing, national curriculum, etc.

Finland is a quite successful case. For instance, teachers in Finland need to successfully earn a Master of Education qualification – and a quite rigorous course and placement apprenticeship – before they can begin teaching. They are also amongst the highest salary earners in the country (and comparatively, amongst the highest paid teachers in the world). The Finnish government has a priority on spending their resources in education, even when there is a limitation of resources, because they know that an investment in education will bring benefits for the whole society. They know that a lack of commitment will bring social problems for decades. Although, again, the Finnish education system is not without its critics, and how it will fare in the wake of the GFC is also yet to be seen.

But any government – in Chile, Australia, Canada, Japan, Finland, the US – has to decide if education will or will not be a priority and then be prepared to deal with the long-term positive or negative effects of those decisions. And it’s not about a lack of resources – even given the GFC. There always seems to be enough money to wage war or support neo-liberal policies. It’s about priorities and the future.

What is the relationship between democracy and primary education?

I have been a part of through the Global Doing Democracy Research Project with colleagues Paul Carr (Canada) and David Zyngier (Australia), in which we have analysed how practise democracy in classrooms, how they discuss democracy, and how it functions (in classrooms, universities and societies). Sadly, analyses of our data indicate that we are not practising – or even teaching – democracy in most classrooms around the world. So Paul, David and I are trying to understand how democracy might best be taught and practised in classrooms to benefit future generations through constructing democratic tools with kids and communities, so they can they can re/produce it in societies.

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User comments : 24

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CapitalismPrevails
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 04, 2012
"the funding of high-quality public education, from primary through tertiary, is an absolute must." AKA the dumbing down of Chilean children even more is apparently a must. The success of private and charter schools here in the U.S. speaks for itself.
Origin
3 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2012
Poor education investment could lead to long-term social challenges
Whereas the overemployment in science could lead into repetitive formulation of trivial conclusions like this one.
Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science?
Origin
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2012
Another perspective:The disposable academic Research at one American university found that those who finish are no cleverer than those who do not. Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.
Academia and Ponzi scheme The universities are generating postdocs, but they don't care if they could get the corresponding applications. Universities are important part of human society, but they act like every other lobby, which tends to get out of control at the moment, when it's subsidized from mandatory fees. The society must find the way, which would force it into more effective work. For example, it's no secret, the MIT is the strongest opponent of cold fusion research. Which progress these universities actually do follow?
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2012
"They should have strong unions so they can have a representative voice that can link them with the parents groups, administrators, and with the education ministry."

Sweden gives each student a voucher so the student and parent can choose the best education resource for them.

"What is the relationship between democracy and primary education?"
English settlers to MA required parent to teach their children to read so they could read the Bible. Harvard was established to supply educated church leaders.
Origin
1 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
The education doesn't provide good occupation and social standard by itself. When the economy becomes poor, then the increasing of number of universities will not improve the situation at all. Instead of it, we are at the opposite side of the optimal curve already. We have too many universities, the position of whose is so strong, it prohibits us in research of cold fusion and another findings, which would bring the life into economy. Now it's just the Academia and universities itself, which blocks the acceptance of new findings. How is it possible?

Well, the universities tend to promote only such a findings, which don't threat their existing research. Such a myopic approach becomes an economical trap not only for the rest of human society, but even for the universities itself. Because the origin of contemporary economical crisis is actually in growing price of oil, which has an origin into twenty years standing ignorance of cold fusion.
Origin
1 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2012
The current orientation of universities to the research of "renewable" sources of energy is OK from perspective of universities, as it provides a sufficient perspective of grants and jobs. But just from the same reason such a strategy is not an advantage for the rest of human society. We do need to have cheaper and less human resource demanding economy.

The orientation to the renewable sources actually replaces the higher consumption of fossil fuels with higher consumption of raw materials, which are expensive and energy hungry as well. But because the renewable sources are subsidized and this consumption is widespread into many branches of industry, it's not perceived as an pressure to increased consumption of oil. But do we really saving oil of we replace it with wind and solar plants? IMO it just brings the increased consumption of oil in the another widespread areas of economy, which aren't so visible. As the result, the consumption of fossil fuels is still raising steadily.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2012
The performance of private schools is typically lower than that of similar public schools in the U.S.

"The success of private and charter schools here in the U.S. speaks for itself." - CapitalismFails

Cattle is what Capitalists want. Cattle is what Capitalists have created.

CapitalismFails provides a perfect example of the maleducated.
AWaB
5 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2012
The performance of private schools is typically lower than that of similar public schools in the U.S. -VD


*shakes head* Huh? Even Google doesn't show much of an argument for that statement. I'd try again, VD.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2012
Private vs. Public: The Great Debate

What they found is that public and private school 4th graders had similar reading scores. Public school 4th graders actually outperformed their private school counterparts significantly in math.

http://www.educat...Schools/

ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 05, 2012
"What one might call the Catholic-school model is perhaps the most unappreciated influence on the nations public-education debate.

If youre serious about education reform, you have to pay attention to what Catholic schools are doing, said Joseph P. Viteritti, a professor of public policy at Hunter College who has edited four books with Ms. Ravitch. The fact of the matter is that theyve been educating urban kids better than theyre being educated elsewhere. "
http://www.nytime...ion.html
"Before vouchers there were virtually no private schools in Sweden. Now there are almost 800. They educate around 6% of all pupils. "
"It is a system which is unafraid to use the private sector to deliver state services but with strong guarantees of equality of access. "
http://news.bbc.c...7744.stm
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jun 05, 2012
RyggTard is right... God bless those Catholics and their love of School Boys.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2012
"Sandusky, 68, has been under house arrest since being charged with sexually abusing 10 boys for at least 15 years. Prosecutors allege the former Penn State football coach met some of his accusers through Second Mile, a charity he created for underprivileged kids. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges."
http://www.cnn.co...dex.html
"NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police charged a female Gallatin High School teacher with having sex with a male student at her Nashville home"
"NEW YORK -- Police taught a high-school English teacher a hard lesson Thursday, charging her with rape for allegedly having sex repeatedly with an underage football player she plied with cannabis on school grounds. "
"House lawmakers in Delaware approved a bill yesterday that eliminated the two-year statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse, but it does not apply to public school teachers. "
geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2012
Venereal Decarian:
RyggTard is right... God bless those Catholics and their love of School Boys.

Actually, what those school boys have to thank for this is the exemption from the VietNam war draft for being in seminary. Since homosexuality wasn't cool back then, rather than having to come out of the closet, the members of NAMBLA went into the priesthood to aviod the draft.

But all you hear from the likes of VD is that grown men who exclusively molest boys is that they are pedophiles and have nothinbg to do with gays.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 07, 2012
Odd, I've always thought that pedophiles who are interested in boys are gay pedophiles.

Geokstr seems to be very confused.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 07, 2012
What RyggTard would rather not have people know is that Pedophelia is not a crime under Libertarian political doctrine. Neither is child prostitution.

"A Gallatin High School teacher was charged with statutory rape after being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old male student at her home in Nashville." - http://www.foxnew...x5aQx2J0

"NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro police charged a female Gallatin High School teacher with having sex with a male student at her Nashville home" - RyggTard

Yes, it is so horrible that that 17 year old boy was raped by that 25 year old woman.

Only in a backward - hick - country like America.....
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 07, 2012
"Erin Sayar, 36, who allegedly hooked up with student Kevin Eng, 16, at least eight times inside Brooklyns James Madison HS and in her SUV, turned herself in to the NYPD Special Victims Squad at around 2 p.m." -

http://www.nypost...x5bNGs9o

"Police taught a high-school English teacher a hard lesson Thursday" - RyggTard

I'm sure he hated every moment of each of those 8 "rapes".

Ahahahahah... RyggTard... What a sick, backward, conservative nation you are slave to.

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 08, 2012
OAKLAND (CBS 5) A member of the Oakland School Board is taking action, following a joint CBS 5 and California Watch investigation into a school that sends children out to panhandle.

Students from Saint Andrew Missionary Baptist Church Private School have been seen at BART stations, seeking donations.

http://sanfrancis...tudents/
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 09, 2012
Odd how RyggTard stops commenting after a Private School is caught kooking it's books and sending it's students out to pan handle to raise money, money, money.

Capitalism is about providing the worst possible product at the highest possible price.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jun 09, 2012
"We're often told that public schools are underfunded. In the District, the spending figure cited most commonly is $8,322 per child, but total spending is close to $25,000 per child -"
"For comparison, total per pupil spending at D.C. area private schools -- among the most upscale in the nation -- averages about $10,000 less. For most private schools, the difference is even greater. "
http://www.washin...921.html
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 09, 2012
Sorry RyggTard, this is a PRIVATE school that has been cooking it's books and sending it's students out to pan handle for nickels and dimes rather than providing them with an education.

"We're often told that public schools are underfunded." - RyggTard

Corporations strive to provide the lowest quality product at the highest possible price.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 10, 2012
Poor RyggTard. When confronted with reality, he runs away.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 10, 2012
Poor RyggTard. When confronted with reality, he runs away.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2012
"ExxonMobil became a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in 2007 with a $125 million commitment to the non-profit organization, which is focused on dramatically improving math and science education in the U.S."
"A critical component in raising the bar on math and science education is providing high-quality professional development for current teachers, as well recruiting and preparing a new corps of motivated and gifted math and science teachers. "
http://www.exxonm...msi.aspx
http://www.mathmo...em-model
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Jun 10, 2012
I commend Exxon for finding such a devious means of lowering their taxes, and giving the PR agencies with something positive to say about them.

"ExxonMobil became a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in 2007 with a $125 million commitment to the non-profit organization" - RyggTard

How much did ExxonMobile give in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011?

Or is the only interested in math and science in 2007?

I await your response Tard Boy.