Sir Kevan Collins, an expert in educational issues and a trusted individual in reviving the education system in England used the ‘exit door,’ leaving the education administrators and officials stunned.
Sir Collins has been part of the education sector for a very long and had earned respect from top government officials, which led to his appointment as the facilitator of the schooling system. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many countries were forced to close educational facilities such as primary, secondary, training centers, and tertiary establishments. The year 2020, labeled ‘the covid-19 year’, was the biggest upset for students as everything was put on halt. This was the only available remedy to curb the continuous spread of coronavirus and reduce deaths, especially in Europe.
After the indefinite hiatus of learners not attending school lessons, the government of England then decided to put in place a plan that would compensate for the lost time and would be used to ensure that school-going persons were up to date with their respective studies. Because of his expertise in education, Sir Collins headed the team, which created the blueprint suitable for the revival of the school system. All these plans were supposed to be implemented as soon as the coronavirus impact subsided to the extent of allowing nations to open their mundane activities [Source]. Lockdowns and restrictive laws were utilized to ensure that everyone stayed put to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Like any regular European plan, Sir Collins’s education catch-up strategy [Source] required a fat budget for everything to go as planned. England lost almost two academic years during the covid-19 period, and distance learning was put in place to ensure that pupils continue their studies at home. Online lessons and tutorials were used as teaching methodology by educators, and the pupils had to use technological gadgets to access school content on different platforms on the internet.
Hence, Sir Collins wanted to launch the ‘catch-up’ strategy to combat the effects of lockdowns and gathering restrictions inflicted in the country. The catch-up plan demands a lot of extra hours to be added to the normal school timetable, and such an addition requires a lot of funding for the teaching personnel and any parties involved. Additional learning periods were to be added for all subjects, sporting activities, and arts, which means that the education sector would milk a lot of money from the government coffers. It is reported that the proposed budget by Sir Collins and his team amounted to £13.5 billion, and it stretched up to £15 billion after numerous requirements for the smooth running of the recovery program were added [Source].
However, the government had a different perspective on the issue, and Prime Minister Boris reduced the number to an ‘unbelievable’ figure considering what was suggested by the team. Prime Minister Boris suggested that the government inject funds amounting to £1.4 billion for the program. For Sir Collins, this decision was a deal-breaker, and he could not work with that kind of funding, so he resigned [Source].
He contends that no education recovery program can succeed given that amount of money, and he views it as a mockery to the sector. Many people shared the same sentiments with him, especially headteachers and leaders of education who feel that the government is not valuing the importance of kids’ education. Also, some concerned citizens attacked Prime Minister Boris for prioritizing ‘useless’ political policies over the future of upcoming generations. The major outcry is centered on the argument that little funding means some students will be left out of the program, and low-earning learners will also suffer.
But Prime Minister Boris and the Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson have assured the people that more funds will be poured. The stance taken was after careful consideration so that the program will continue. Sir Collins’s resignation has disturbed a lot of government officials and education officers. Some actually believe without its captain. The academic ‘catch-up’ ship will definitely drown.