Exclusive: Some education authorities are truly incompetent
I'm angry. I'm bemused. This is the sight from the school-based computer of one teenager in a Scottish Local Authority as they try to access what is, arguably, one of the best web safety and media literacy sites in the UK, Government and European Union supported and funded. An Education Authority (District) has the site blacklisted as being part of a cult. Uhuh...
The Education Authority hasn't taken the proactive step to make sure this site is free and open to use on its computers, a site that is included in nearly every Government-issued piece of guidance on web safety and media literacy. It's February, more than halfway through the school year, and the issue has only just been noticed. Sites like this form part of an education authority's statutory duties of care to students. Being safe online and being able to access information online is not just an added extra in 2009.
Update: I'm reminded, also, that a summary of reports that was intended to be shared with Local Authorities (I don't know if it ever was), which I produced in my previous employment, included a recommendation from Tanya Byron's report to Government that filtering no longer be done with a top-down approach. It must be collaborative with children, empowering them to take responsibility for their online behaviours (paraphrase).
As such, I'd say this is, or borders on, incompetence. At the very least it's lazy. This is the kind of mistake that shows a systemic lapse in our education establishment's ability to encourage informed and proactive actions from those in educational and technology management. At the very least, I'd like to see that someone, somewhere in the strata of Scottish education management cares enough to make this a rather more public case study of how not to operate. It's only from errors like this that others can learn, after all.