Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Education, education, etc

Well, so much for Tony Blair's "three words to define his premiership". It has been  public knowledge for some time that we have slipped down the international league tables during the Labour years in government.

Unsurprisingly, with the dumbed-down, everyone-must-have-prizes, quantity rather than quality being the driver for university placement, muddled and politics-driven agenda of those years, standards have been falling. Toby Young at The Telegraph brings us up to date with the OECD figures from 2000 and 2009 (i.e. the most recent). Some of the details by subject can be found there, but the bottom line is that we have fallen from 12th position in the world to 23rd in those nine years.

It's quite a stark contrast.

Now, to be fair, it is hardly a great surprise that a number of other countries have improved, and that's great. Good for them! What isn't good, though, is that we of all people have allowed ourselves to slip so far; but when policy is driven by an essentially Marxist philosophy (however it's been dressed up) that is what will happen.

The teaching has become primarily about the State and its agenda, concentrating more on "diversity" and "citizenship" than academic matters.

Although the current world situation has to accept that 'txtng' has replaced proper English in some areas of life, that is not an excuse for abandoning correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation. Although I txt with the best of 'em, I never drop my standards elsewhere such as here, as you might have noticed. I understand the value of the latter, along with the convenience of the former (especially on Twitter, with its length limit of 140 characters - though I haven't yet branched out into that myself).

Toby Young's article includes some well-summarised facts from the OECD report towards the end, so do check that out as well - or plough through the report yourself(!)

What now faces Michael Gove and his ministerial team is the challenge of undoing the damage, and that will take time. Meanwhile, a whole generation of young folk have missed out, and that is something for which they can never forgive Labour. Hopefully they'll be wise enough to realise it, and never to vote for Labour for the rest of their lives!

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