Schools: Institutions or Service Providers?

Schools: Institutions or Service Providers?

For the vast majority of children raised in modern Western democracies school attendance up to the age of 16 (or older) is a normal fact of life. Primary (elementary) education and a certain amount of secondary schooling are mandated by legislation. Of course, it wasn't always like this in countries like the US, the UK, and Australia, and an estimated 16 million children in Africa still do not receive a basic schooling.
However, the heritage of compulsory education in most Western countries over the past 100-150 years has led to the sense that schools are institutions within modern society. By institutions I mean they are embedded into the way we think about society - we would find it hard to contemplate any capacity for progress without relying on primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
Over the last decade or so government and societal attitudes towards education have been changing, a fact that not all schools have recognised. The shift has been from seeing schools as social institutions to seeing them as education service providers. As education service providers they are like businesses selling a product (education) and competing against each other for students and funding.
There are a number of factors that have driven this shift. A major factor is competition. In years gone by, only the wealthy could afford private schooling. The vast majority of students went to either state schools or low cost Catholic schools. Today, however, the education landscape looks much different. There is an enormous range of school options from public and low cost church schools, to elitist private schools, and all the way between. Parents can find a school somewhere to meet their budget - and if they live in a major city, they probably won't have to look very far.
Increased competition is a reflection of growing wealth in Western countries, and it provides parents and children with choices unavailable to most people in the past. However, for schools, competition ups the ante. It puts pressure on schools to perform, and losing students to a competitor school can start a vicious spiral - loss of students leads to loss of staff; loss of staff leads to loss of subject choices; loss of subject choices leads to further loss of students.
Going hand-in-hand with competition is the perceived quality of the education that schools provide. In many educational jurisdictions, state-wide testing of students allows schools to be compared according to the 'quality' of their test results. Parents and children often make choices of schools based on schools' overall standardised test performance. Increasingly, this information is freely available online, allowing for easy comparison and increased competition for the 'better' schools. This 'marketing' and self-promotion of schools is further evidence of a competitive, commercial marketplace in the sector.
The commercialisation of the school sector is further driven by the highly specialised and highly selective job market in most Western countries. Increasingly, students select courses based on what they hope to study at university, or on the availability of jobs when they leave school. Schools are not only expected to produce good students, but also good workers who can play their role in paying taxes and sustaining economic growth. As consumers, parents and children covet schools that reliably deliver admissions to the most prestigious university courses or the most sought-after jobs.
The reality of the school sector is that it is increasingly becoming a commodity with a market value. Schools compete for scarce resources - students and funding. Yet many schools seem to be populated by staff with long memories. Many teachers still think they only need to teach their subjects and students just need to learn. They think the responsibility for next year's enrollments lies with the Principal or the school board. It doesn't. It lies with everyone.
Dr Steve Barlow AFAIM is an educator and change management professional. He has worked for over three decades in school and tertiary education, serving in teaching, administrative, management, and leadership roles. In this he gained much experience introducing and managing change at both micro and macro levels. Steve has worked within the correctional system in educative and rehabilitative roles, and has conducted a number of significant research projects within the prison system. He has has been a speaker at various conferences around Australia, and in Ireland. Steve is currently Director at Redequip Pty Ltd, a change management and training company based in Australia.

Accelerated Flight Training: Common Questions Answered

As more and more pilots are enrolling in what the aviation industry calls "accelerated flight training programs," one can't help but wonder... do these programs really work? Is a two-week training and immersion period enough to effectively hone one's piloting skills?
If you ask leading flight instructors for an honest remark, they're most likely to give you a simple and straightforward answer: maybe.
What is accelerated flight training anyway?
In simple terms, accelerated flight training is a pilot training course designed to be short-term yet highly effective. The idea is to equip trainees with advanced knowledge and high-level proficiency skills in the least number of days possible. The training period usually lasts 10 days (or 2 weeks), but a course can last for as short as 2 days or longer than 20 days.
For instance, if you want to earn your Instrument Rating so you can become a private pilot, all you have to do is to enroll in a 2-week IFR training course, and when you complete your training, you walk out of the training center as a certified pilot. Or if you want to obtain an advanced-level certification, enroll in a school's high level program, spend 250 hours training, and walk out with the certificate. It's that fast!
How much does one flight training program cost?
Most of the flight training schools do not peg the tuition to a fixed amount. This is mostly due to the fact that a trainee can design his own training program. Though flight schools have a ready-made curriculum or syllabus, you still can request for a custom-made course that you think meets your unique set of requirements.
But on the average, a month-long initial pilot training can cost more than $7,000, and a training course for instrument rating can cost more than $4,000. A flight school can provide you with a convenient payment plan, so consider all possible options.
What kind of training will be conducted?
The answer depends on the objective of the course you enrolled in. But in general, there are two types of training that will be given to you: practical or hands-on and the classroom-type of training.
The training school will provide you with several handouts, readings, and written materials. These include FAA publications, manuals, and modules. You are expected to go over them thoroughly.
Also, depending on the course, expect to be given enough hands-on training such as navigation and standard procedures. And at the end of the training period, you will be given a practical test that you need to pass. If you fail in the test, the school may give you additional training.
Are Accelerated Flight Training Programs Effective?
Early on, it was mentioned that leading flight instructors have expressed their uncertainty towards accelerated flight training programs. This is because the results they saw are either positive or negative.
Based on their experience, this is due to several factors. One of them is the training program itself. A well-designed program produces good results, while a poorly designed one leads to poor results. Another factor is the person or trainee. These accelerated programs are designed to be fast-paced, so those without basic knowledge tend to experience much difficulty.
Therefore, if you're planning on enrolling in a flight school, make sure that you take note of the above-stated factors.
Flight training programs are offered across the country. If you want to enroll in an accelerated training program, be happy to know that there are a number of Flight schools that offer highly effective Flight Training courses. Just flip your directory and head over to the right category.


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