The solution to truancy . . .

33,000 kids absent from school every day. Clearly this is the fault of schools and teachers. I know this because the government said so. School has to be more engaging for the 33 thousand – they said that too.

The government is spending another 32 million dollars on truancy and I bet my lunch money that 32 million will buy a lot of glossy brochures, one or two snappy phrases like ‘only a fool, skips school’ or ‘Tana said, get out of bed.’

And there might even be enough money left over to fund some research which will, of course, require focus groups and a few longitudinal case studies. And after the 32 million is gone we’ll all be told that kids skip school because it’s boring and because their parents are stuck in a poverty trap. And this will help kids go to school about as much as giving 32 teachers a million dollars each.

 What they really need is a website, sponsored by a fast food company or a cool clothing manufacturer (it all has to be cool for the truants).

Many years ago a calculus lecturer stopped speaking mathsy gobbledy-gook and said he’d been told to make his lectures more fun. He took three tennis balls from his bag and juggled them for about 15 seconds. And then he continued the discussion about how much x changes when y changes by a teeny tiny little bit. I skipped just as many calculus lectures after that.

Schools should have spot prizes taped to the underside of seats. And the curriculum should change. Maths isn’t stimulating and poetry is so yesterday and PE doesn’t have enough bungy jumping or kite-surfing and in science they could clone animals but they test spit for starch and grow mung beans. Art should be about spray cans and body piercings and tattoos, and IT shouldn’t be about word processing – it should be about Java and cloud computing and apps.

The solution to truancy is as obvious as the red mark across a just-caned brat’s backside. It’s N flipping CEA. It’s why many teachers are skipping school so, of course, it’s the reason so many kids have spoken with their feet. And if boys were allowed to play scrag footy at lunchtime it’d be OK too –especially if the bloke teachers could play too.

Look… in countries where school isn’t compulsory, like Nepal, Pakistan and Liberia, kids fall over themselves, sell kidneys and walk bare feet across sharp rocks for an education.

And another thing. If the snots and their parents don’t value school enough to go, then school is better off without them.

— Peter Giddens

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