Fake News or Lazy Journalism?
I wasn’t really looking for such an article. I was looking for something else totally unrelated. However, you know what it’s like when you search the web, all sort of things pop up, relevant, interesting and “don’t waste your time looking here,” but there it was.
The article was in a well-known newspaper, about a couple of years old now, but it was talking about an independent school’s system – a system of which I am familiar as I have set up numerous such schools in several countries across the world.
I could guess where the information came from, as I am aware that there is a lobby that is very anti this particular school system. This lobby feeds information to schools and university’s ad infinitum. All negative. It’s funny how people can get a bee in their bonnet and then spend all their time attacking issues they don’t quite understand, even if what they are saying is quite untrue, or even if there is another side to the argument.
In my own life I have been at the receiving end of this kind of reporting a couple of times. I remember one reporter, who I kindly gave my time to, when halfway through the interview, and photo shoot, my little grey cells clicked. I said to her, “I know how you are writing this report, and what you are going to say is not true and does not represent the facts. In fact, I do not want to answer any more of you biased questions because I have already sussed what you will write, and it will be detrimental to me and more importantly, quite untrue. The well-known magazine did a three-page spread. It was totally untrue. However, it still looked like “a good story.”
Anyway! Back to my newspaper web discovery.
The article told how the kind of school that I and many other are involved with, could not prepare students for Further Education, and particularly could not prepare them for University. My problem with the article was that in the last few years, students in the local UK school that I am involved with – that is a school that utilises the system that the lobbyists and the reporter I referred to above - sent all their “staying on” students (Those that were taking either our certification (ICCE) in either the intermediate level or the advanced level, on to various Universities of their choice. Not only did they not have the problems that the article talked about, but they found University life just right and ended up usually around the top percentile of their year.
I take the trouble to keep in touch with as many past students as possible. Perhaps one of them sums up what I am talking about better than I can express. This young man wrote to me, in answer to my question, “How are you doing at University?” Here is a copy of what he said:“ I have to tell you that I am not the cleverest student in this place. However, I also believe that I will end up with a good degree pass. What is sad,” he went on to say, “is that many of my fellow student won’t even complete. The thing is,” he said, “I learnt in the school I went to, how to set academic study goals, how to manage time, and how to complete and hand in work on time. Many of my fellow students maybe brighter than me, but they won’t finish the course.”
On his completion with a good degree, I asked, “Did any not finish?” He answered, “Sadly, a lot did not.”
I checked the stats from Channel 4. Here is a summary: On average, one in 10 UK undergraduates will drop out of university before their second year of study. In some institutions, that figure is as high as one in four.
So; Was it fake news? Or was it just lazy journalism? Nobody interviewed me for another side to the rather poor information that they were giving out as factual.
Our students do just great.