"nor quickly to assent"
Maurice Papon, war-criminal, is dead. At his trial, he ascribed his willing assent to the arrest, internment and deportation of Jews, to the teaching he had received.
So what is education for?
Education must impart knowledge and habits of behaviour. But it must also do two things:
1. It must encourage questions and the testing of received wisdom.
2. It must provide pupils and students with an opportunity to build a world which goes beyond the imagination of their parents and teachers.
These qualities are not easily examined nor quantified for league tables. The current regime looks chiefly for the quantifiable which can be examined. From nursery schools to universities, the British government and educational establishment looks chiefly for results that can be measured and judged. Tick-lists and rote learning are valued above thought. Plagiarism, which infects schools and universities, grows from a demand that pupils and students replicate the ideas of others. Schools and universities celebrate the employment records of their students rather than their difficult non-conformity.
Independent, questioning and original thought is unpredictable in its results. It's dangerous. But it's also the best and only hope for the future.