MANY people claim our education is suffering from our strikes and we therefore shouldn’t, or shouldn’t be allowed to, take part. What most people see is groups of teenagers sitting on the ground for hours or jumping up and down shouting.

But actually we gain a great deal of experience and a different type of education from the school strikes, which is what many people don’t understand or even haven’t thought about.

There are two types of education: what we get at school and what we get from experiencing life.

School education is learning how to structure paragraphs and how to multiply five and six. School education is far more about knowledge and preparing you with the skills needed for a job or a university course later in life. It teaches you how to function in society the way deemed normal, or to do what’s expected of the average person.

School teaches you how to think, how to write structured essays, how to do maths, how to describe the anatomy of a cell ... it is simply facts. It is a fact-based education, and at the end it is tested with exams to see how well you memorised all the facts.

The second, arguably more important, type of education is what we get from experiencing life and doing things. There’s only so much you can learn from sitting in a classroom taking notes, but there’s so much more to life than what we’re taught in school.

Strikers have to do a large variety of jobs at these events. For starters, everyone has to know about the political system. That can be taught in school, but actually talking to politicians can’t be. Strikers meet with politicians constantly, whether it’s constituency MSPs or the First Minister.

Meeting with such important people requires extensive knowledge and confidence, and so many people have had their confidence improved by strikes due to the sheer urgency of the situation.

We also have to know the ins and outs of media; how do you do an interview? Most strikers have written for newspapers, as I’m doing right now, or done radio interviews, been on news channels such as STV, BBC or Channel 4, or been interviewed for mailing lists going around organisations like Friends of the Earth.

The strikes are an example of experience education. We learn the secret tips on how to talk to politicians, how to give good quotes, how to talk well in an interview, how to write press releases, event planning, contacting press and public figures, and a lot more.

We also have to know almost everything about the climate crisis to meaningfully talk to people in power about what we want to change. This increases our knowledge in biology, physics, chemistry, economics, politics, geography, history (the industrial revolution) and more small details.

I helped to organise a global strike on May 24, at which 4000 people marched to the Scottish Parliament. That taught me so much.

It has given us a different kind of education – an important one that, when mixed with the facts taught at schools, makes us more ready for life in society. We are being responsible individuals and contributing citizens. As one teacher said: “The strikes are the best curriculum for excellence I’ve ever seen.”