The problem with British education is that it was built by a generation indoctrinated schoolboy public school literature – Billy Bunter, Tom Brown’s schooldays, The Fifth Form at St. Dominic’s. Modern Education stems largely from the 1902 Education Act, whose driving force was Winchester and Oxford educated civil servant Robert Morant.
That is the starting point for the first U3A Founder’s Lecture to be given by Eric Midwinter on 9 April next year. He will argue that schools become transit camps where children are held until there is a place for them in the workforce because “an elaborate education system is the consequence and not the creator of a sophisticated economy”.
The emphasis of education ought to be the “happiness and contentment of students”. He would like to see a situation in which schools are not compulsory – and do not need to be compulsory, because they make learning so exciting that children want to be there. Schools should work on the U3A model – and, Midwinter points out, there are no truants in the U3A.
Dr Eric Midwinter is one of the three founders of the U3A.