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Privilege. Particularly re: education

December 3, 2011

First, read this article:

Okay, so a gambling addiction support group thinks it’s a good idea that, given the easy availability of online gambling, kids should be taught how odds work.

I think this is a good idea.

Personally, I’ve no idea about how it all works. My brother gambles / has gambled (dunno which currently – it’s a sensitive topic with the fiancee) quite a bit, with a fair amount of success (he’s good at the gambling, less good at hanging onto the winnings). But he’s worked quite hard to become that good. (Never play him at poker – his poker face / grin will give you nightmares, and however fast you think you can compute the odds, he can do it faster.)

But here’s a quote from the article:

Graham Stuart, Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons education select committee, said: “I am generally nervous of trying to make schools the cure-all for society’s ills. Their primary aim is to equip children with the basic skills of a decent education.”

Yes, that is their primary aim. What is he implying? That a ‘decent education’ does not include the skills to avoid an online gambling addiction? Or maybe he thinks that is something one’s parents should teach a youngster at the races, or maybe at the card table over cogniac after dinner?

Graham Stuart went to an independent school followed by Cambridge (where, incidentally, he failed his degree, however is apparently still okay to be the chair of the education select committee. Fancy that). This is just a theory, but I suspect Mr Stuart has little idea of how truly ignorant (in the literal sense, not as an insult) some people can be. You don’t have to pass an exam to be a parent, so some very ignorant people end up as parents, and cannot fill up any gaps that a school / Tory MP sees fit to leave in their children’s education.

Giving information out as part of the national curriculum is a really good way of making sure you reach everyone, and preventing (or at least lessening) problems in the future. Gamcare are the experts in this area. If Gamcare think this information is necessary, and that schools are a good vector for the information, it might be wise to listen to them.


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  1. Tony Kennick permalink

    I happen to think a better understanding of probability is something that our education system should have. Other education campaigns I have supported recently include the one for teaching programming to a higher standard and at an earlier age. The issue is that absent an increase in school hours or the leaving age education is a zero sum game and for each good idea for something to be added some other part of the curriculum has to lose out.

    Oh and I would question your drawing any conclusions on the abilities of anyone based on them crashing and burning a degree course, but that is mainly based on personal experience 😉

  2. fearlessknits permalink

    Re your first point, yeah, sure, for every thing that gets put into the sylabus, something has to go, but given the amount of my school career I spent on various interminable aspects of WWII, I think there might be some space…

    Also, whilst failing / not holding a degree doesn’t and shouldn’t disqualify one from holding public office, I think a failure to properly engage with an education system should disqualify you from being in charge of one.

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