The independent London newspaper

Whatever motivates young people to do well is complicated and wonderful

12 November, 2020

• RECENTLY I have been travelling by taxis – not black cab or Uber – just my local London cars.

As an ex-sociology lecturer I am always interested in people’s lives. My taxi drivers tend to be from different countries: Turkey, Bangladesh, Algeria, Somalia, Pakistan and other African and Asian countries.

One thing they have in common is a respect for education (and doctors). Because I have taught in Camden, Haringey and Walthamstow, I usually ask about their children’s schools.

Their daughters and sons are usually university students – London-based, or Birmingham, Luton, East Anglia, Middlesex, and usually studying business, engineering, economics or medical sciences.

Some drivers have been university-educated or have been restaurant or business owners who now find taxi driving more profitable and conducive to child care.

I have taught a variety of successful students including actors, actresses, footballers, doctors, physios, accountants – not boring ones – many from immigrant families, some who arrived not speaking English.

Whatever motivates young people to do well is complicated and wonderful.

I am always banging on about education offering all the answers and now, with the world upside down, education, is, more than ever, what makes us all global successful humans.



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