Has the time to connect finally come?

Ken Muir, former GTCS Chief Exec and previously HM Chief Inspector of Education, asks: will IDL feature in the post-pandemic re-imagining of the Scottish education system?

Three recent events, which at first seemed totally unconnected, prompted me to think about where we are with interdisciplinary learning (IDL) in our schools. 

The first was my re-reading of notes I took at a pre-Covid RSE lecture given by Prof. Ian Goldin of Oxford University.  In it he said “Today is the best day of our lives because tomorrow will be much more complex.  There is no historical precedent for where we are now.”  Prof. Goldin’s words at the time struck me as being prophetic and have proved to be just that with the clear exposure of the complex connections we have at a global level shown by the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic over the past year.

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Is it hard to be soft?

Alan Sinclair, former Senior Director for Skills and Learning in Scottish Enterprise, considers the skills shortage and shows us another path — putting the three Ps before the three Rs.

Assembled in the room were the senior civil servant and his top team responsible for education in Scotland. My job was to present what 22,000 employers big and small, public and private told us about the people they recruited in the past year.

The data told an unexpected story.

New recruits were poor at talking and listening, working with one another and with the public, and poor at elementary planning or problem solving. Employers of lower paid people, for example jobs in care and retail, had the greatest dissatisfaction. Graduates recruited, we were told, had the same soft skill shortage, just to a lesser extent.

After two hours of close questioning and discussion, the headman closed the session by saying, “ Thank you that was most interesting. But it has nothing to do with us”.

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