No government can feel satisfied with itself until it has “overhauled” the education system. This one is no different, but is it going in the right direction?
The education secretary, Michael Gove, has a plan for GCSEs meant to make Britain more competitive in the world and tackle ‘grade inflation’. The concern is that Britain’s education system is falling behind – the Chinese work harder, the Americans are more innovative, the Germans more logical and the Scandianvians are just better. And there have been more passes and higher grades every year that GCSEs have been taken since their invention in 1988.
It’s probably a bit un-PC to compare school kids to the Taliban, but I have no doubt that when ex-soldiers make it through a two-year fast track programme to become teachers that they’ll notice the similarities. Teenagers and terrorists: liable to explode any minute.
As a semi-proud holder of a second class degree, I was delighted to hear that the leading scientist and TV presenter Lord Winston deliberately doesn’t hire people with a first. Why? Because there are two ways to get a first – be the sharpest knife in the drawer or work your arse off. Problem? The latter kind doesn’t know how to do anything else.
The sad thing about education is that by the time you realise what it’s worth, you’re too late.
A good friend suggested yesterday that I watch a thought-provoking YouTube rapper/rhymer with a knack for picking holes in the fabric of Britain’s education system. I did, and I’d like to share him with you too.
Naming and shaming: Britain got a report card this week from Unicef on the well-being of its younger generation. The result? An award for improvement. And a beating, because Britain’s kids still don’t know nuffink (like not starting a sentence with a conjunction).
Unicef (the United Nations Children’s Fund) measured several factors related to well-being and scored 29 rich countries for their performance in each category. (Full report here).
I know adults mean well when they ask: “what do you want to do when you’re older?” But it’s a bit of a dumb question.
Ironically, however sure you may be at 18 that when you’re older you want to be Superman (or Cinderella), you can’t possibly know that…until you are older and figure out that the glasses would look better stamped on and those high heels are impossible to walk in every day. In which case how could you reliably choose what subjects you want to do at school, or even at degree level?
Good news! If you were born in the UK since 2007 (unlikely, if you’re reading this) then you can expect to live for over 100 years. But there’s a catch. I’ll get to that.
This blog is called jinxedgeneration for a reason – it’s main focus will be on young people, particularly in Britain – those who aspire to live well but are set to inherit an unsustainable world on a collision course with catastrophe. No, I’m not banging on about global warming, although that’s part of the problem. I’m talking about housing, healthcare, income, jobs and quality of life: the transfer of wealth from the young to the old.