Great teachers or great teaching? Why McKinsey got it wrong

How apt! I was completing some reading for my NPQH and wanted to find the true source to the quote “The quality of an education system can never exceed the quality of it’s teachers” and came across this article. So now, this has confirmed my thinking also in that we need to acknowledge true source and give credit where due. I always believe that when stealing ideas, the ‘robber’ as it were, will never deliver the message with the same conviction as the source. It just doesn’t happen that way and so we see that it orignated in South Korea and though this may not be Singapore, we see how the philosophy of having an empasis on classroom instruction bears fruit and is validated by what you have now changed to ‘teaching’ and not ‘teacher’ as I agree, we can all teach better. The challenge, is getting everyone to do so and then doing something about those that ‘can’t’ or even ‘won’t’. Thanks for this, I’ll reblog and eventually add my own musings.


Chris Husbands

It’s a fabulous quotation: “The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” It has the sense of an underlying educational law, as compelling as Newton’s laws of motion. It’s routinely attributed to the 2007 McKinsey Report, How the world’s best performing education systems come out on top.

But if you dig into that report, you’ll find a footnote acknowledging that the quotation came from a senior government official in South Korea: yet another illustration of the old adage that a management consultant is someone who steals your watch and then tells you the time. But as an aphorism it has done its job, and is now routinely quoted by government ministers, education reformers and academics  the world over. A Google search yields over 180,000 uses of the  quotation since 2007. It crops up again, in disguised form, in Andrew Adonis’s contribution to last week’s

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