Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer travels Europe and Asia to assemble evidence in favour of less regimented and competitive notions of education than those prevailing throughout much of the world (including New Zealand).
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
How well served are we by education systems that promote hierarchy, competition and quantifiable results? Parents and teachers around the world are questioning the one-size-fits-all application of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer (We Feed the World) rallies some forceful critics in this film. An educational science professor in Beijing regrets the rise of Western market ideology in the Chinese education system. A German telecoms executive, who has spent 40 years in high-level management, offers the film’s most salient insights about the destructive business tactics instilled in the successful graduates of a competitive education system. A visit to a bruising ‘CEO of the Future’ workshop illustrates his point. French creative educator Arno Stern accentuates the supremacy of unfettered imagination in unleashing human potential. (If Wagenhofer leaves his film vulnerable to counter-attack, it’s in ignoring the privilege inherent in the alternatives he poses.) PISA’s Andreas Schleicher, meanwhile, provides confident endorsement of the OECD system, even if he’d rather not enrol his own children in PISA’s top-scoring Chinese school.