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Old September 1st, 2008, 1:14 pm
Neville Longbottom
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Re: Hermione & Neville: In the Spotlight...or on the Spot?

A few ideas on magical education

Let's talk about our education system - as you might imagine, that's a topic close to my heart. Actually, when I say Ďeducation systemí, I mean Hogwarts. Letís face it, for most wizards in the UK and Ireland Hogwarts is the only option, which means we have to make absolutely sure that it is the best it can be.

First, the big idea: we should actually see Hogwarts as part of a longer learning process.

We all know that many magical families find it difficult to give their children a primary education. The Ministry should look into offering them some help.

There is also no further education after Hogwarts. For many of us thatís just fine, but we always have a few excellent minds who would like to specialise further. We need to follow the mugglesí example and found a university. At the moment magical research relies on private initiative Ė people who do not have enough time and money to experiment never get a chance to test their ideas, and we lose valuable potential. As you probably all remember, the Snape/Weasley campaign has also made such a suggestion, and I agree with them that this would probably have to be tackled on an international level Ė which would also contribute to international magical co-operation. A proper environment for a research community and higher education could really offer us a chance to make new discoveries and advances that make all our lives better.

As far as Hogwarts itself is concerned, I think there are a few problems we need to address:
  • pupilís opinions
    Itís crucial that pupilís views about the school and its activities are heard, regardless of wealth, influence, blood status or any other factors. We should give all pupils a chance to state their opinions frankly and anonymously, both about individual subjects and teachers as well as the school as a whole.

  • useless teachers
    Letís not beat about the bush. We all know that among some amazing teachers at Hogwarts there have always also been some who simply didnít get their subject across. Think about it Ė a few decades of Professor Binns meant that generations of wizards Ė thatís basically the whole wizard population of two countries alive today Ė has not had a chance to learn anything useful about history. I am sorry, but thatís just not on.
    We have to find an independent way of dealing with this problem. I suggest an independent committee of Hogwarts teachersí, pupilsí and parentsí representatives, a panel of experts in the different fields taught at Hogwarts plus some independent members (some of which could be drafted in from abroad). The Committee would look at pupilsí feedback, the syllabus and examinations and make sure that the proper standards are met. They should also hold an open meeting every year where everyone, especially pupils and parents can attend and ask questions or offer suggestions and criticism. New members of the committee should also be elected by such a general meeting.

  • House unity
    I think we have all seen that this is essential. I would not want to destroy the unique identities of the houses, or the healthy competition between them, but I think there has to be more chance for pupils from different houses to interact and to get to know each other.
    I think there should be a general common room at Hogwarts. The house common rooms will be there, too, but there should be a comfortable place where people from all houses can meet. Iíd also like to see more competitions with other schools (though, if possible, less dangerous ones than the Triwizard tournament).

  • Come and visit Hogwarts!
    Hogwarts should have an annual open day for the whole wizarding community Ė a chance to come back to the school whether you have children there or not, and essentially a big party for all. We should all be proud of our magnificent School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

  • The Ministry will stay out of Hogwarts
    This seems a bit of a paradox, when I am putting together Ministry policies for Hogwarts reforms. In fact, I would like to set this process in motion and let the school and its independent commission deal with our proposals, while the Ministry introduces very clear laws to prohibit all direct government interference in future.

So, those are my basic ideas for important changes we should consider. Hogwarts has been around for about a thousand years - and it's been serving us well, so obviously we don't want to fix something that isn't broken.

But a few years ago, I saw Hogwarts almost brought to its knees, and Voldemort was not the only one causing problems. I want to make absolutely sure that something like that NEVER happens again, and that Hogwarts will go on for another thousand years.


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