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Education

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 04 November 1999

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and the modern purpose of education. Nobody - would argue with the fact that education is of central importance to the people we are. And there seems to be no doubt at all that fine skills, flexible life-long learning and cultivated intelligence are the keys to all our futures. So how do we tackle what was until recently - just two hundred years ago - a unique preserve of the few, the privileged or the plucked out exceptions?

Plato made his priorities in education plain when he inscribed over the entrance to the Academy “Let no one ignorant of mathematics enter here”. He prized learning that revealed what he called “eternal reality, the realm unaffected by the vicissitudes of change and decay”, and this became the objective of education in Europe for thousands of years - vocational education, concrete skills, was hardly dreamed of. But was he right? What is education for: is its role to teach us the nature of reality, or to give us the tools to deal with it?

With Mary Warnock, philosopher and educationalist; Ted Wragg, Professor of Education, University of Exeter.

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