A great start to what I hope will grow to be an interesting discussion.
As for me, I think that, as a society, we need to reconsider what our purpose is in educating young people. Ultimately, what do we hope to achieve? In Australia, the government launched what it termed was 'the education revolution', which basically meant a re-visioning of national education systems, and paved the way for a national curriculum and more technology in classrooms. However, the purpose of this was to increase the profitability of Australia, as it sought to link increased and higher educational outcomes with higher GDP.
I find this troubling - is the only reason we go to school to get paid more? On the other hand, I believe that 'whole education' must look at the social and ethical implications of education. In other words, how can education fulfil its social obligations and encourage the development of an active, informed group of citizens, citizens who are capable of recognizing injustice and taking action against it? To me, that should be one of the goals of 'whole education.'
Economies have been built on tulips and trinkets and they are currently built on games (golf, football, yachting), fun, dance, music and violence. We can choose our sustainable market in anything for which we can educate if we want money as the base; a recent/current one was manfacturing where limits of resources and of later problems of disposal form a slowly arising awareness in boardroom educations of later life. The highest marks in education must focus on those changes which actually deliver a better world - food where food is needed rather than more food with un-health, less population, no unnecessary journeying, production, messaging, etc., and extra marks for more time to enjoy our lives.
It would also be healthy to award extra marks to those who educate to produce ideas which remove those who spend their time pressurising others to work for them rather than for themselves - Human Capital Theory.Schultz et al.
One answer is in E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops. It actually gives us the answer to 'Where does all the go, go?'
I am delighted to join a group of people that believes in the idea of whole education. The issues you highlight for school education are replicated in higher education. My concept of a more complete education was developed over several years while working at the University of Surrey and we called it 'lifewide learning and education' and it is applicable to learners of any age, especially ourselves.
It recognises that most people, no matter what their age or circumstances, simultaneously inhabit a number of different spaces - like work or education, being a member of a family, being involved in a club or society, travelling and taking holidays and looking after their own wellbeing - physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
We live out our lives in these different spaces and most of us are fortunate to have the freedom to choose which spaces we want to occupy and how we want to occupy them. In these spaces we make decisions about what to be involved in, we meet and interact with different people, have different sorts of relationships, adopt different roles and identities, and think, behave and communicate in different ways. In these different spaces we encounter different sorts of challenges and problems, seize, create or miss opportunities, and aspire to live and achieve our ambitions. It is in these spaces that we create the meaning that is our lives. In these spaces we enact who we are and lay the foundations for who we want to become.
My concept of 'whole education' (a more complete education) is therefore one that embraces the opportunities that everyday life affords us to educate and develop ourselves. Lifewide education embraces, honours and incorporates a lifewide concept of learning and personal development into the educational policies, structures and practices of schools, colleges, universities and other educational providers.
When I left the university last year I decided to set up a community interest company to promote these ideas and help other people adapt them to their own situations. We have a rapidly growing community which includes people from all phases of education and many people who are not educationalists, and I would like to invite you to join us if you feel these ideas have value.