22 June 2011

Quote, unquote

Today I sat in an audience and heard a speaker say, amongst many other things over a period of forty minutes, the following:

“Socialisation is a process which delivers benefits to all, even the least fortunate, which nobody in their right mind (least of all I) would give up. Unfortunately, part of the price for those benefits is to convert a significant proportion of a predominantly bright, intelligent, curious population of five year olds into dull, prefrontally lobotomised eighteen year olds. For some, too few, education serves to slow down, arrest, reverse or even prevent that conversion process. For a greater proportion, education is part of that process. For others, possibly the largest (and maybe the saddest) proportion, it has no obvious effect in either direction. We badly need to seek ways of increasing the size of the first group at the expense of the other two.”

The speaker was, ten years ago, a fourteen year old education system reject from a "sink estate", whom I met in an urban outreach scheme made possible by an enlightened and far sighted café owner. Today he is a graduate with a first class honours degree in hand, not much money in the bank, but five years of passionate dedication under his belt to helping a new generation of education system rejects to reconnect with their "bright, intelligent, curious" five year old selves.

Some people make me proud to be human; the speaker, and the café owner who was also in the audience, are two examples.

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