This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Sean Coughlan is an education correspondent for the BBC and he recently visited the Basque Country to write an article analyzing the situation of the education system in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.  The British network just published it in their Economy section, and it’s bound to raise some hackles.

Why?  Because of its highly favorable analysis of our education system.  This is going to raise hackles because in our country, many people confuse the need for constructive criticism with the denial of any positive evaluation of what we really have in our country.

It’s really surprising how there are parties that “outside” make the Basque Country’s to be a model system, but “inside” claim everything’s falling apart, just as surprising as it is that there are people who seem to be bothered by things going well (not perfectly, certainly with room for improvement, but well) and refuse to accept it, trying to make believe that reality is what they want it to be, not what it is.

That’s why this article by Sean Coughlan isn’t going to go down well.  Already there are comments in the forums about this news claiming such things as:

  • “This was paid for by the Basque Government”, seemingly forgetting that the BBC doesn’t allow itself to be bought
  • “The only ones who save it are the good teachers and professionals working day in, day out”–of course!  They’re the ones making it work.
  • “I was born and raised, and I studied, in the Basque Country and I don’t see this perfection anywhere.”  What are you comparing it to?

The truth is that it must be really annoying for all those “deniers” for a BBC journalist and expert in education to write what he wrote in this article, especially because of his comparisons with what is done in the north of Europe, with those who are traditionally defined as leaders in the field of R&D education.

Yes, without a doubt, this article is “bad news” for a few; but nor should it be news for Society as a whole to rest on its laurels.  Knowing that things are being taught with the right approach, acceptably well, should serve as a base to encourage everyone to work harder, to fix the mistakes, and especially reinforce what’s working.

Not too long ago we found an article by Guillermo Dorronsoro (who also expresses his opinion in this BBC article) that talked about how the Innovation Commission mentioned the Basque Country as being in the “group that is following the leaders”.  We can’t afford to be “second”–this is a race we can only win if we’re in front.

We enjoyed Guillermo Dorronsoro’s thoughts at the end of the article:

“Education is a long-term investment, it needs an identity. If you don’t feel any identity, you don’t make an effort.”

In any case, we recommend reading the BBC article: it’s worth it, especially because it tells us where we need to improve, but always reminding us we’re on the right track.

Similarly, we’d like to recommend you read an article published that same day by the Austria Press Agency discussing a report by Austrian Cooperative Research analyzing the Applied Research and Innovation system in the Basque Autonomous Community, stating that “Austria could learn a lot from the Basques about applied research and innovation.”  We think that provides a really interesting overall viewpoint.

BBC – 15/6/2016 – Gran Bretaña

Basques reinvent themselves as education power

Whenever there are discussions about the international superpowers in education it’s not long before you hear about Shanghai, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong or Finland. And then there are the rapid climbers such as Vietnam and Poland. But what about the Basque education system as the next rising star? It has the hallmarks of many high achievers – with a strong sense of identity and ambition, emerging from conflict and with a need to compete with much bigger neighbours. The Basque government, with a high degree of autonomy from the Spanish central government, has invested heavily in education.

(Continue) (Automatic translation)

 

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