Choice in Education

Seth Godin: “The mass market is being replaced by multiple micro markets and the long tail of choice.” View the article here.

What choice do students and their families have with education?

Apparently over the last 20 years there has been about a 20% shift in families choosing private education over the public sector (mass market).

Government schools educate approximately 65% of Australian students, with approximately 34% in Catholic and Independent schools. (Wikipedia)

Since 2000 the number of students in private schools has increased by 21% compared with an only 1% increase in students attending government schools. Since 2000 the proportion of students in private schools has increased to 34%, or more than 1 in 3, up 4% over this period. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Other than choosing between public or private schools, there is little choice…but it is needed today.

A new example of choice of schools in Melbourne is (Sports Education Development Australia) – sports education and training.
The concept was established to meet the needs of young people requiring an applied learning education focus that was set in the real world. The disengagement of young people in the senior years often results in lack of attendance, motivation and reflects a lack of direction and meaning in what they are learning. Learn more about SEDA

Notice how this initiative cites the need to learn in the real world, student disengagement and lack of motivation and direction.

Many students feel trapped in schools and find that much of the “real world” is banned or regulated against:

  • Technology – The banning or limitations of Mobile Phones, Facebook, YouTube
  • Choice of subjects – not able to follow their interests, passion
  • Work experience – limited to 1-2 weeks when they reach year 10
  •  Lack of Personalisation – large classes, many teachers, uniforms
  • Cells and Bells – trapped in classrooms and movement dictated by bells

A great opportunity exists now for a greater range of choice in education and learning.
The opportunity exists, the need is amongst us, but I don’t think the school system as it stands will allow it.

Hence we see the rise of home education and alternative learning programs. These are the micro markets Seth was talking about.


One thought on “Choice in Education

  1. I agree with you. The same goes for the school situation here in the U.S. Parents are seeing that schools are not providing what students need and are looking at alternatives. We lose lots of students to online schooling. It is free. In many cases, the schools even give the students a computer. From what I have been told, the actual school work does not take the entire day, giving students the opportunity to work, go on field trips, or follow other interests.

    Of course, there are some down sides to this, but that is what is happening. If schools don’t change on their own, I am afraid that many students are going to find another way to learn, one that works for them.

    It seems that schools operate under the notion that they control the education of the future generation. Instead, they should understand that they only help facilitate that education, and that students are clients for the school rather than the other way around.

    This sounds crass, but schools need to start looking at student needs on an individual basis. Only then will students start to learn what they need to learn rather than what society has decided every student is supposed to learn.

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