UPE Articles

“STEM Thinking – The Way Forward” Report – An Indictment of Dysfunctional Educational “Leadership” 

Our educational system is broken. A truth that the UPE has been saying for a very long time. Now a group of academics from the science community has released a report putting the blame fairly and squarely on our education leaders. 

They call out the education authorities for failing to create a system which stimulates the intellectual development of students beyond the confines of schooling. Critical and “scientific” thinking are absent within the larger community to the detriment of our nation. Science, Technology, and Maths (STEM) may not be the complete answer to our nation’s future well-being, but so far, they have been side-lined and given little importance in an ever-changing world.

The UPE is not surprised by this report. The educational system, while exacting minute control of classroom educators, does not hold the higher echelons accountable. Educational policy makers and “leaders” carry on with impunity. The failings of the system are routinely attributed to educators and even trade unions to camouflage the malaise and misguided policies from the very top of the educational ladder. 

The UPE welcomes the “STEM Thinking” report as a sorely-needed breath of fresh air. It is high time that responsibility for policy failure is addressed to its source – the policy makers and the so called “educational leaders” themselves.
We call on the highest authorities in the country to reflect upon the “STEM Thinking” report. 

How can our children, the country’s future leaders and workforce, be encouraged to engage in critical reflection when the educational establishment itself brooks no opposition and tramples upon educators’ rights time and time again? 

How can students develop an enlightened frame of mind, love for scientific inquiry and a critical mindset? The message our education system sends out is simple but devastating: Do not challenge the established order, accept the status quo. That is what the education authorities want. So when, for instance, it is challenged, prohibitive injunctions are issued against educators who are compelled to resort to industrial action to protect their rights.

Why are trade union representatives banned from educational institutions on the pretext of Covid mitigation measures? And yet, it is common practice to allow commercial artists and fast-food operators to provide entertainment and render services within schools without constraints. A critical mind would know the answer to that!

The UPE maintains that critical thinking will never flourish in our country unless and until educators are accorded due professional autonomy and discretion in their work. Our educational system is far removed from the conditions which are necessary to nourish reflective practices and critical thinking.

The sad and inconvenient truth is that the system is designed to instil blind obedience and subservience in our future citizens. For this we have only the policy makers and the so-called “educational leaders” to blame. 

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