River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Education - A Must

August 2002

What would happen if we all laft school at 14?

I was in conversation with a friend of mine recently. Yes I agree it's remarkable how you can get to the age of 72 and still have friends, probably I have bribed them, who knows. All my friends happen to be men; it could be said the women I know are more disconcerting, or is it discerning. Anyway my friend was on about education and he reckons that education for most of them is a complete waste of time. His argument is that, yes educate up to a certain level, then that's it. What's the point he tells me? Most of them will finish up washing vegetables so what good will more education do them?

My first reaction was that he was talking rubbish. Surely, the longer you spend at school the better? After all, do we all want to leave school before we are 14 like what I did? And yet the more I thought about it the more I concluded his remarks made some sense. My mind went back to the conversations I have had with another friend of mine who went to University and didn't do a 'days work' until he was about 23 or 24. We have both agreed that the worst days work his Parents did was to give him a first class education, because in doing so it has segregated him from the rank and file of so called ordinary people.

If we accept that 'educated people' are such as Doctors, Solicitors, Vicars, Headmasters and so on, and if we accept that 'less educated people' are say manual workers, you don't just have two groups of people but two groups who have each a different way of life. For example, a manual worker after a days work may well play darts for recreation but it is extremely unlikely that you would find a Doctor doing so. But why not? Could my friend who questioned the importance of education be on to something? Just how important is education? In fact, just how necessary is it?

How often have you read about people who have built up very successful businesses and you find they failed their eleven-plus. What part has education played in snobbery, so prevalent in my view in this Country? I wonder just what would happen if everyone had to leave school at 14? What effect would that have on the employment scene? Would it lead to the rise in unemployment as it suggested? I have a feeling that the Jury is still out on that one. I can't help thinking that you need to have something in your head, yes, but you also need something else; the 'guts' to get out there and give it your best shot! And I'm not sure that you can learn that at school.

Les Lawrence

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