Let teachers shape the future of education

An influential educationalist is calling for teachers to take the lead in shaping the future of education ahead of politicians.

Professor Bart McGettrick, an independent consultant specialising in education and professionalism in the workforce and former Dean of the Faculty of Education at Glasgow University, will make his case in a free public lecture entitled: "Citizenship and Values: the school and beyond" tomorrow evening (Thursday 2 November).

Professor Bart McGettrick said: "I shall be considering the essential purposes of education and whether schools have in some ways been distracted by government and others to offer an education that is lacking in some key respects. This will reflect on the thought that government does not have a monopoly of influence on education and there is a professional responsibility of the teaching profession to have ethical courage to make the different legitimate voices heard. Citizenship education is one key area where this is both possible and desirable.

"Attention will be given to the need for teachers to create 'space' for the flourishing of students. There are dangers in a culture of control and the nature of education should support a world in which there is freedom to be autonomous within certain national frameworks. The effective, active citizen is not characterised by compliance but by enterprise and creativity.

"The essence of Citizenship education is to promote a dialogue that arises from different points of view, so long as the main purpose of the conversation is to pursue truth, and the flourishing of the human condition - individually and collectively." Professor Bart McGettrick has over 30 years' experience as a senior member of staff in teacher education institutions. A former Principal of St Andrew's College, he is chair of several national and international groups, as well as boards of governors of a number of schools.

The lecture starts at 6pm (tomorrow) Thursday 2 November in the Sir Charles Wilson Building, at the junction of Gibson Street and University Avenue. The final two Stevenson lectures in the series are: George Reid (Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament), "Citizenship in Scotland and Scottish Citizenship" on Thursday 23 November; and Professor Mona Siddiqui, "Islam and Citizenship" on Thursday 7 December.

The lectures are free and open to all without ticket. Each lecture will be followed by questions and discussion and there will be an opportunity to informally meet the speakers at a reception after the lecture.

Martin Shannon (m.shannon@admin.gla.ac.uk)

First published: 1 November 2006