Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why am I not surprised?

New Labours obsession with replacing learning with propaganda and politically correct indoctrination is starting to come home to roost as the UK started to slip down the graduate league. That's not to say that we don't have good schools and good teachers or even smart kids, just that their education and the way we went about it has been changed to reflect political desires rather than what business and industry want.

Figures show that Britain fell from joint third to 15th in rankings based on the number of university graduates being produced.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said the country's "competitive advantage" had been lost in just eight years, slipping behind Poland, Iceland, Portugal and Slovakia. 
Analysts warned that cuts to higher education funding – and a possible future reduction in the number of university students – could damage the economy.
Andreas Schleicher, head of the OECD's indicators and analysis division, said that graduates earned far more in later life than those who left education at 16 or 18, meaning they paid higher taxes and exercised more spending power.
It comes amid fears that university budgets could be slashed by up to a third when the Government publishes its Comprehensive Spending Review next month.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said: "Today's report shows a worrying decline in the UK's standing in the world of education.
"We have plummeted down the graduate league table, going from a major player to a relegation candidate in less than a decade. The coalition Government's refusal to fund sufficient university places this summer will come back to haunt us.
"Other countries are preparing to play a leading role in the new knowledge economy while we risk consigning a generation to the scrapheap of inactivity and being left behind."
Dr Wendy Piatt, director-general of the Russell Group, which represents 20 top universities, said Britain "risks jeopardising the competitive advantage which has made its universities the envy of the world".
 What follows is a usual bleat on funding, however the damage was done before the coalition got into power and before cuts became necessary. The facts as it stand show that government interference in education by New Labour has wrecked our young peoples chances of being the top in their fields because they have been taught such things as citizenship and equality studies rather than have a solid grounding in the basics. No amount of money can fix this situation, the poison has to be removed from the education body before it can be restored to health. Focussed spending on what the country needs (scientist, engineers, doctors, mathematicians etc) rather than media studies and Harry Potter degrees, not that I'm saying universities shouldn't offer such courses, just that the state shouldn't pay anything towards it nor offer student loans to the course attendees. The top courses could easily be fully funded with the government paying the full course fees as well as offering grants towards lodgings and support, the rest can go the way of market forces, ie pay your own way.

As an aside, I think I must be getting old, I find myself making sure the texts I send are grammatically correct complete with punctuation and spelling. The ones I get in return are legible (barely) and sometimes make me cringe at what otherwise intelligent people can do to the language.

2 annotations:

Macheath said...

In case you missed it, you might like this article by Harriet Sergeant on why British youngsters are virtually unemployable.

With the best will in the world, it's going to take a great deal to turn things around. The educational establishment has for years been systematically weeding out teachers who don't fit their template (sample quote from lecturer in education; "An Oxbridge degree, eh? We don't want your sort here. I suggest you consider another career.")

James Higham said...

There is no way it could have gone any other way, given the garbage which passes for curricula today.