A change in culture? A couple of issues with the capitalist privatisation of public services…

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It is common knowledge that during the consumerist age that we live in institutions such as healthcare and education have slowly (like everything else it seems) become more ‘privatised‘ and less ‘public’, but what possible negative effects are these changes having (or potentially having)? Below I have summarised two points, please comment and add more

A less localised institution – as institutions become more consumer focused within their approach to working with people (or ‘for’ people) it is a very real issue that services are likely to be made more ‘for the masses’ and the aims become generalised rather than for local individuals who receive the service on a face-to-face level. This could further enhance the globalisation process that we are currently in and be more likely to change local cultures to be more ‘global’ friendly or ‘market’ friendly (or perhaps a mixture of those things?) Is this what we want people to be learning from our health and education?

A reinforcement of capitalism – with privatisation comes competition for services and although competition can be a very good thing (for example development comes from healthy competition) competition for the right to produce services such as healthcare and education will surely focus work more around targets, statistics and agendas than around people, and their ‘needs’ or ‘wants’. Competition for these services will enhance the statistic war of who can provide the most ‘cost effective’ and ‘results based’ service. Those of us who work in the field of health, education, youth or community work can compare this to the current trend of ‘results-based accountability’ which has positives and negatives of its own.

This privatisation is a global topic, some people may be endorsing it and others may be trying to reject it (see attached picture!) it is a very real thing that is happening all around the globe with positive and negative results. I hope that through sharing knowledge and discussing the topic we may learn from each other.

References

Information learnt and paraphrased from: Peter Jarvis, 2007. Globalisation, Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society Sociological Perspectives. Oxon: Routledge. It can be found in google books here:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=l8iPetH_os4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Peter+Jarvis+Globalisation,+Lifelong+learning+and+the+learning+society&source=bl&ots=bVMrY6bjFh&sig=xeEkoWemCsTc41x6lyTUS4Cn1SU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zC6CUIzJGKnD0QWEpICIBA&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA

Photograph taken from: The Guardian (Sri Lanka) http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/11/privatisation-and-keeping-standards-in.html all credit goes to the photographer and the individual who made the sign!

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In-case anyone noticed I haven’t been on here for a while, due to the fact that 1) I have been studying and working hard and 2) I haven’t actually had the internet for a couple of months!!

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Should there be limits on social media? – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English

An interesting topic which affects almost everyone, should social media be policed? Will it offer protection? Control? Should policing be done by the social media companies or the police? Do we need new laws and control to match our new media? Are social media sites ‘public space’? And what consists of ‘Freedom of speak’?

Should there be limits on social media? – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English.

Who will win and who will lose out of the ‘Big Society’ agenda?

After there have been so many cut backs in the funding for youth and community projects all over the UK both within the public sector and within the voluntary sector it has come as a low blow to may organisations that the government may end up financing private sector projects instead…

Within funding available for working with young people as part of the big society agenda Serco and co have applied for  what may be £100m for two years. So where are youth and community services going now? Will private and voluntary projects work together in areas where public services have been taken? Or will voluntary and public services all buy into the private sector? One issue that cannot be ignored is that ‘One in 10 charities told researchers for a report by New Philanthropy Capital that they could close within the year due to cuts.’

All of the information above is a summary of issues within a Guardian article written by Daniel Boffey, the article can be found here http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/05/serco-bid-national-citizen-service.

Are we at risk of a NEET overload? All I hear is NEET, NEET, NEET here have some facts

This time a year ago I think the word ‘NEET’ was a purely professional or academic term that I had personally had heard about 3times now it seems to be everywhere;

In the news…

In my work meetings…

In youth conferences…

On the television…

Within schools…

Articles, books…you get the picture

So what does ‘NEET’ mean and what exactly is this ‘NEET phenomena’ that is exploding across news papers, funding bids and social policy agendas costing tax payers and British society a lot of money I’m sure.

The following is Information from my Literature Research that I thought I’d share, please feel free to add and comment!

NEET= ‘Not in employment, education or training’ some others may refer to this as NETLE= ‘Not in employment, training, learning or education’ whichever way you look at it means someone who is not earning or learning (theoretically). However I’d like to mention that NEET’s include people who volunteer of their own accord and do many things outside of earning and learning and so it in no way means that for people to be NEET they are doing NOTHING. In fact I’m sure many NEETs are learning very valuable life lessons everyday unless they are literally doing NOTHING AT ALL in which case I’m sure they will disappear entirely.

NEET is just a current term for social exclusion; social exclusion has been on the political agenda since the early 1990’s. Labour made social exclusion a focus of their campaign into office in 1997 and have aimed policy around supporting those who were socially excluded since. Bridging the Gap was a huge step into the socially excluded correctness zone which aimed to defend the Nation against social exclusion and was a big convincing reason to fund targeted youth services in Britain (the tail end of this may be why I have a job today in fact)!

Social exclusion and NEET seem to be terms that refer to something a person (or people) need to correct immediately why? The reason for this is that being a NEET or socially excluded person creates a higher risk factor for individuals to be involved in substance abuse and criminality. NEET’s are also more likely to be a long term cost on taxation.

Before social exclusion was ‘youth unemployment’, which was a huge political agenda during the 1880’s.

Currently Britain has 260,000 ‘core’ NEETs which means individuals that have been out of employment, training or education for a year.

NEET usually is a term which applies to young people with the majority being 16-18 (except in Wales which last year had a higher 19-25 ratio of NEETs).

I hope this information will be useful to people to other members of society I for one have found it useful in my understanding and placement of political agendas, funding, young people and the current economic climate. I do hope that those who are NEET or NETLE find things that they enjoy doing and perhaps gain employment or seek training in these enjoyments with or without support from government funded schemes, teachers, training providers, learning coaches, youth, social or community workers.

Thank you

Here are some references so that you know I didn’t make all of that up!

Department for Education and Skills. (2002) Estimating the Cost of Being ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ at age 16-18. DfES Publications: Nottingham.

Furlong, A (2006). Not a very NEET solution: representing problematic labour market transitions among early school-leavers. Work, employment and society (20) pp553-569.

Hills, J and Steward, K. (2005) Access on-line here: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/policies-towards-poverty-inequality-and-exclusion-1997

Rose, J. (2008) Youth Policy in Wales. youth and Policy (56) pp 55-63.

Steward, K. (2009) A Scar on the soul of Britain: child poverty and disadvantage under New Labour. In Hills, J Sefton, T and Steward, K. Towards a more equal society? Poverty, inequality and policy since 1997.

Welsh Assembly Government, 2008, Delivering Skills that Work for Wales: Reducing the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training in Wales.

Yates, S and Payne, M. (2006) Not so NEET? A critique of the use of ‘NEET’ in Setting Targets for Interventions with Young People. Journal of Youth Studies 9 (No 3, July) pp. 329-344.

Children eating, cooking and creating their own future? That’s right we don’t always have to do it for them!

The BBC News has reported on two studies which show that cookery classes encourage pupils to recognise and become more accustomed to ‘healthy’ foods resulting in a desire to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cooking isn’t just a fun, social activity it’s a skill which can be used again and again, making it a very productive form of education. Within this article a survey of 2,500 participants of the ‘Let’s get cooking’ project showed that 92% of them used their learnt skills at home.

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16854572

How can this be related to our current climate?

Cooking is a great way to educate children, young people and even adults on what food choices they have available, where to get them, how much they cost, what exactly they can do with them and how to use ingredients. Young people at the centre where I work love to cook, however we don’t just run cooking sessions due to the recession and budget cuts we tend to run ‘cooking on a budget’ sessions. Where we make wholesome meals (and sometimes desserts) which cost less than £5.00 for a group of people (on average I’d say around 10 people but it depends on what we cook)! So far we’ve made wonderful rice, potato and pasta dishes as well as experimenting with pancakes, chocolate, honeycomb and porridge (not all at the same time I might add!) The young people who participate are now experts at flavouring rice dishes, in love with porridge and can make their own oven chips from scratch, this week we plan to be making chicken burgers which I hope will go well (even if a session doesn’t go a 100% to plan it’s still a learning experience which can be built on).

If no-one in the group has experience of cooking a particular dish we use this website http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/. If anyone can suggest any other sites please comment below, and especially mention it if you know a recipe which will cost less than £5.00 to feed a group (we’re always on the look out for new things to try).

Thank you

Forming a Youth Service Directory (my working placement for university)

Forming a directory is something I have never done before, not only have I never done it but I have also been asked to do it outside of the area that I work. Why? The reason the directory was proposed to me is that staff and young people of the area would benefit from knowing what is out there for young people to access so that it can be used as a form of partnership referral for any needs/wants that young people have.

Who proposed this idea to me? A youth development officer (YDO), who then arranged for a local community education officer (CEO) to supervise me. During my discussion with the YDO I was very clear about the fact that I didn’t want a CEO who would constantly tell me what to do, as this placement was to demonstrate my own management and development skills. When they explained that I would be to contact all the local youth services, clubs and groups I said yes that sounds like something I can do. What I didn’t explain at this stage (and wasn’t aware of myself) was the fact that I have only ever completed one piece of community work previously (a community profile) which I did as part of a group not by myself and on an area I had more knowledge of.

Now that I am in placement I am realising how my previous confidence  in my own ability and determined attitude to do ‘a good job’ in order to get this project done has made me overlook a few key aspects of it.

-The biggest aspect is that I have completely overlooked young people and their community’s view on this directory (as stated in a previous reflection: https://pedagogyuk.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/had-a-meeting-today/). After some thought I have put posters up in the local youth/community centres in order to encourage participation and introduce the idea of what is going on. As pointed out by blogger http://yourideasredditch.wordpress.com/ this may not be as effective as I’d like. Very easily it could be ignored, misunderstood and overlooked meaning that it isn’t very accessible to people.

The reason behind this lack of youth input into the project is the result of another issue…

-I don’t have enough time, due to work commitments in the evening to go to their youth clubs, streets, community centres and such. I am only in their community during the time they are likely (depending on age) to be in education, training and work. One of the ways I hope to combat this is to ask the youth and community staff to become involved in the project. As much as I dread asking people to do something for me (especially as I have never met them) I will have to try and ask the local staff to introduce people to the project and find out their opinions on it; what they think should go in there, how it should be laid out/accessibly, who should have access to it and so on.

I do worry that when I leave something in someone else’s hands I cannot guarantee the effectiveness of their work, we are different people and we work in different ways. However their way is probably best as they are the local youth and community workers who will be supported by their CEO’s on this (as I am writing to them explaining the project as well).

-The last key aspect of this directory is that it was not initiated by the local community (as far as I am aware) or if it was then not though my own work. The fact that I have started this project with no previous contact with the community is a shame and I wish that I had tried to instigate this contact sooner.

That’s all my blogging for this moment, please feel free to comment and add your opinions/suggestions to further my personal development and hopefully make this project run more smoothly.

Thank you

Quote for the day and ideas for tomorrow

From the Book Community Development: A critical approach by Margaret Ledwith.

‘Critical pedagogy involves people coming together to explore their own identities across all aspects of difference in order to develop confidence in ‘who they are’ within the structures that define them.’

Personally I love this quote and relate to it as I work, live and learn in diverse social environments, I never feel threatened by other people within society because I’m open to discussion with everyone.
On this note I’ll mention that I hope to join a ‘F.A.N’ (friends and neighbours) group tomorrow. These groups are free of charge and meet for 1hour a week. The reason I like the sound of ‘F.A.N’ groups is that their whole focus is talking English with each other and anyone with any level of English is welcome. Wish me luck!
Feel free to comment below with other ideas, quote and such,

Thank you