Today our blog looks at the Education Secretary’s op-ed on exams, as well as a story on the future of EU students, and today’s social media summit.
Yesterday, Sunday 28 April, the Sunday Times published an op-ed by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who wrote about the importance of preparing for exams in growing pupils’ character and resilience.
The Education Secretary recognises that the lead up to GCSEs and A-levels can be a stressful period for pupils, but also notes the importance for young people in being able to deal with the challenges they’ll face in life, including developing the resilience and coping mechanisms to deal with challenging experiences such as exams.
On Saturday 27 April, Buzzfeed published a story suggesting that the government is considering proposals to raise university fees for EU students after 2020. This story was picked up by the Financial Times, the Times, the Guardian and City AM.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Students from the EU make an important contribution to the universities sector and it is a testament to our system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here.
Last year, we announced that students from the European Union starting courses in England in the 2019/20 academic year will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee status’, which means they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students.
The government will provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2020/2021 academic year and subsequent years in the future.
Social Media Summit
Today, Monday 29 April, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds is co-chairing a summit with social media companies, calling on them to take stronger action against harmful online content. This follows a duty of care proposed as part of our Online Harms White Paper, published earlier this month. This has been covered by the Sun and the Telegraph.
Ahead of the meeting, the Education Secretary has co-signed a letter to attendees with the Health Secretary, that sets out the government’s plan to launch a partnership with the Samaritans to eliminate content that promotes self-harm or suicide.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
It’s time for social media companies to get serious about their responsibility to young people. Growing up has always been hard, but the internet and social media heighten the pressures. This isn’t just about tackling illegal content, but things that are legal but still harmful to wellbeing.
That might be content that makes them question their worth, or encourages certain types of behaviour as a way to ‘fit in’ – which do not belong in our children’s news feeds. Or images that normalise eating disorders and critical body image by creating a dangerous idea of perfection – without realising that these have been heavily filtered, enhanced and edited beyond what is realistic.
The internet may not create low self-esteem, but its 24-7 nature makes it harder to escape. I want young people to ask the right questions when they’re online, helping create a generation of safe, savvy users.