The education system must change so that knowledge gives way to wisdom, emphasising the application of knowledge as a source of power for living that leads to individual happiness and success. I would create a system that enables students to develop a questioning mind and put in place systems that produce a new generation of inspired learners. These students would value intrinsic learning and would not see and prioritise fulfilling personal ambition as a driving force.

I would transform the perception of teaching from a fallback option to one where the healthy development of youth is seen as a prerequisite for the creation of a great future; where those coming into the profession see it as an opportunity and a privilege to change and transform lives; and where teachers strive to foster an educational environment in which young people experience the joy of life by strengthening ties with their families, neighbourhoods and community. This educational environment would foster world citizens who possess the ability of synthesis, creativity and an international awareness, which would contribute to the attainment of peace and human progress.

The curriculum would be progressively forward-looking and prepare young people for the uncertainty and unknowns of the 21st century. To do this provision would be made for stakeholders in education to work towards the development and solidarity of educators who, through challenging their own limits, would inspire the lives of youth with their courage, compassion and wisdom. This curriculum would instill in each child a love of learning, fostered through their nurturing experiences with inspirational individuals at school.

The education system would be used as a tool to level out inequalities, drawing inspiration from the successful and insightful Nordic countries. Schools would become safe spaces where colour, class and creed are insignificant; where the inequalities parcelled out at birth are irrelevant within the classroom; and where no single child’s socio-economic disadvantage affects their ability to learn.

Finally, as education secretary I would pledge to exert my efforts in establishing a “United Nations of Education”, an international forum to discuss the education of humanity based on the concept of a fourth branch of government, that of education, which would be independent of the present three branches (legislative, executive and judicial).

@arifa_aleem