England voted strongly for Brexit, by 53.4% to 46.6%, as did Wales, with Leave getting 52.5% of the vote and Remain 47.5%.
So we voted to leave the EU.
Since the vote, there has been a lot of voter statistics posted on various social media sites such as the average age of a typical ‘vote leaver’ and the average education of a ‘vote leaver’. It was the educational level statistic that sparked my interest.
In summary, it is claimed that the higher the educational level reached, the more likely the voter was to vote Remain. Therefore, the lower the educational level obtained, the more likely the voter was to vote Leave. This fueled some pretty heated debates among my running friends!
Several implications were made, with the main one being that the ‘less intelligent’ voted Leave.
What I infer from this is that we, as educators, have failed. We have not failed to teach knowledge, we have failed to teach the young to critically evaluate the knowledge they receive. As our children progress through infant to High School, we teach them to except our knowledge and we grade them on their ability to regurgitate that knowledge. By the time they have reached the latter years of High School, students are quite good at accepting whatever knowledge is placed before them. This is the key skill we have taught them – a key transferable skill!
So what happens when they are subjected to differing views on a topic such as Brexit? They will make a choice based on their immediate social environment experience and one not based on the critical evaluation of both campaign claims.
Those with a higher educational level are encouraged to develop critical skills throughout Higher Education. We emphasize this as a key graduate skill. We actively engage our students to develop this skill throughout their degree, masters etc.
So what I see from these statistics is that we are teaching this key skill of critical evaluation too late. It should be embedded into early year education and not reserved for those wishing to pursue a higher level of education.
Perhaps then we will have a generation that is more able to make an well informed choice.