Posts filed under ‘Education’
Despite certain stereotypes and even the best efforts of the media, most Western Christians today do not hold to a literalist view of creation – they believe something approximating to a divinely inspired and intended creation worked out through the processes described by modern science. In fact, science degrees are thought to be more popular than arts degrees amongst UK Christians students. But this only refers to ‘hard science’ – what of the Social Sciences? Is the Church unable to extend its understanding of divine inspiration beyond Biology, Chemistry and Physics?
British Christians are taking some time to get used to living in a post-Christendom world. Gone are the days when biblical stories are the mainstay of our common culture language. Those who surround us are often very well primed in dismissing the Christian faith, from either a faith or anti-faith perspective. I want to see the Church do something about it, and I think the answer may come from looking at the other faith communities around us.
With the fight to defend the NHS and other health and social services taking precedence for many anti-cuts groups, it would be easy to think that the Higher Education struggle can be laid to rest. Nothing could be further from the truth. So many Universities have set fees at £9000 that the government will struggle to find the money to loan to students, even though the debt is technically “off-sheet” and therefore doesn’t count towards the deficit. This crisis is rather ironic, as the government has sought to reduce its role in Higher Education funding on the pretext of a national debt crisis.
Three days ago I ran a coach to a demonstration against attacks on Education in Britain. Turnout was perhaps surprisingly good, with around 10,000 on the streets, including Trade Unionists and parents groups. We marched to Millbank, the Tory HQ, and from there to the Egyptian Embassy to show solidarity with those fighting against the same corruption in another part of the world.
So I thought I might put up a list of books that I haven’t yet read, but which I fully intend to this year. Not necessarily in this order, you understand – I have a couple on loan already, so should probably read those first. I get bombarded with book suggestions, so these are the ones I’ve managed to come to the conclusion are actually in need of reading, rather than on the maybe pile. Why not add your suggestions in the comments?
I’m sure I wrote a post about the rise of Neo-Victorianism sometime about 2 years ago, concerned with the anti-social behaviour rhetoric that was prevalent in the media at the time. I can’t find it. Either way, during my time at home this Christmas, we watched the recentish BBC serialisation of Dickens’ Bleak House as a family. Somehow this government is managing to make Dickens’ work even more depressing to watch…
Suffice to say, Britain does not have a history of “Youth Riots”. Such events are not as regular or predictable as French or Danish Youth Riots, with their specific politics and social science appeal. So to see young people out on the streets over the last few weeks, and to witness the relatively small number of broken windows has been as unexpected for many activists as it has for many police officers. But the media, slow to respond and supplied with only limited information, has been very slow to see some of what’s going on.
Passing by the York Against the War stall yesterday, I happened to witness something that really reminded me of the extent to which adults go so far in over-complicating politics. A child (probably about 10-12 I guess) approached, asking to sign a petition, did he have to pay to sign and did we know… (I forget the name).
* Of course, it will work if you have the money to make use of the options it gives you, or the free time, which as we know, is also like money.
OK, less of the sarcasm. Choice is something we humans value in many contexts, and its hardly a bad thing in itself. But the way choice is provided to us, often as a selection of options rather than actual free choice, quickly becomes problematic.
This week saw the release of People and Planet’s annual “Green League”, a very handy and well-researched table of all the Universities in Britain and their impact on the environment. It makes interesting reading; the differentiation between the top and bottom University are enormous (though this is largely the scoring system), though they both happen to be in the same place: Plymouth.