Education is an experience understood in tranquillity
Nice few words about Charles Handy in the Economist who has been recovering from a stroke. He has had to relearn walking, talking and swallowing.
As far as Mr Handy was concerned, the point of his hospital stay was to allow him to recover as fully as possible. That meant he needed to be up and about. In the view of the nurses, that was a potential problem; he might fall and hurt himself. Their priority was to keep him safe. In practice, that required him to stay in bed and keep out of trouble.
He mused on some themes all too familiar, namely how the organisational obsession with efficiency often results in organisations not being effective.
The purpose of education is to prepare children for later life, but all too often the focus is on getting the children to pass exams.
He saves some special words for Human
As it is, there is a temptation to try to turn people into things by calling them “human resources”. Call someone a resource, and it is a small step to assuming that they can be treated like a thing, subject to being controlled and, ultimately, dispensed with when surplus to requirements.
(The most egregious example of the above is how NHS management refer to preregistration doctors as ‘ward resources’ rather than doctors who are apprenticed to other doctors.)
Sadly his knowledge of the type of modern corporation we call ‘universities’ is out of date.
Indeed, Mr Handy argues that most organisations whose principal assets are skilled people, such as universities or law firms, tend not to use the term “manager”. Those in charge of them are called deans, directors or partners. Their real job is best described as leadership rather than management. And one of the primary functions of leadership is setting the right purpose for an organisation.
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