The Economist on education

This week’s Economist has a brilliant piece on the further dumbing-down of British under-16 education.

It’s all very well organising the curriculum into six ‘learning areas’, and it might seem like a good idea to teach things beyond the three R’s. But how effective can such soft skills be, if they’re not built on a sound bedrock of reading, writing, and doing sums?

My £0.02: British education has been getting softer since the 1950s. Look at any GCSE paper today and it’s startlingly simple compared to the ones I did just a decade or two ago. The emphasis now is on ‘being interesting’ and engaging the student’s mind in creative thinking. But the best creativity grows in the strictest, most disciplined analysis of facts and figures – and we’re raising a generation of soft-edged muppets without the basics to build on.

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