A new outcome for our education system
Guttentag one and all.
Last time I (Sam) wrote, way back when, I raised the question; why are we here? I explored the theme and applied it to schools, questioning the purpose of our education system. What is the desired outcome for participants? What does 'to do well at school' mean?
I'm not sure who's responsible for setting those parameters, but I do know (i checked) that there are no official league tables for happiest schools and there are no A-C grades awarded for being fit and healthy. Why not?
Surely, our schools should be preparing children for the reality in to which they are headed? Important as they are, upon leaving education, there is much more to contend with than grammar and arithmetic. Knowing the name's of King Henry's wives does not help people understand the impact of interest rates on their mortgage.
Rather than deride the status quo, in today's blog I want to stake a positive case for a new outcome. An outcome that addresses reality and which in achievement, provides tangible benefits for participants of our education system and the UK as a whole.
The particular reality we are concerned with, of course, is food:
Eating is central to, and has a profound effect upon our lives. Having a healthy and meaningful relationship with food is to have a fundamentally strong foundation upon which to build everything else.
It seems that as a nation, we have forgotten this simple truth.
Regarding our physical health (to which food is intrinsically connected), we are bombarded with apocalyptic metaphors in the media; "the obesity time bomb!" "Diabetes Doomsday!" "Sugar Suicide" "CARNIVOROUS CORONARY CATASTROPHE!!!!"
Hysteria aside, the facts behind these headlines are pretty scary: 64% of Britons are obese or overweight (Guardian 2014) and there are 3.2 million diagnosed diabetics in the UK (Diabetes UK 2014). This represents a significant increase from even 10 years ago. If we were to treat the million obese Britons eligible for weight-reduction surgery; it would cost the tax payer a staggering £9.1bn (BBC 2013).
Everyone knows that what and how we eat has dramatically changed withn the last two
generations. Quite simply, we cook less and eat more mass produced factory food. It seems apparent that said change is having an adverse effect on our health. Simple. Cooking our food at home, from scratch and using fresh produce, has a positive effect. Simple. Watch this excellent RSA video, which explains the simple truth more eloquently than I ever could.
All the above in mind, the outcome I propose is thus:
"Upon leaving the education system at 18, every participant should be able to prepare a meal from fresh produce"
In it's most basic form, this is a simple outcome that would be easy to implement and measure. It really wouldn't be difficult. From this small step we could build a reality where a whole generation has the means (and therefore motivation) to intuitively throw together a tasty curry/lasagna/chili from what they have in the kitchen.
People would cook more, an outcome of which would be a change in behavior and diet. More of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff; saving money, supporting producers and getting healthier in the process. Simple.