April 25, 2007

Hmm. It appears that the BBC’s finally spotted the UK’s woefully poor maths teaching. I’m not so sure we need a pre-entrance exam to University as tricky as the one suggested in the news article (which I could not answer off-hand, not without a good day of revision), but it would be nice if our educational system was given a bit of a push into the 21st century.

We can totally teach our kids better. There shouldn’t be shame in doing work, there’s too much of a bleeding heart mentality here (“that’s too hard,” “that’s too much work”… etc).

I’m not suggesting that we chain kids to their desks until they’re 18, but we can teach them harder and faster than we do in the latter primary and most secondary years without taking much away from their personal time. Think kids are bored because school is boring? More likely, quite a few kids are bored because the material isn’t coming fast enough.

Maths and English must be core subjects all the way through school, as all who use these tools well can benefit. Second languages should be taught more rigorously here. IT should be taught thoroughly also. Much of the rest should be optional on a school-by-school, or pupil-by-pupil basis.

I’m not aware of any upcoming overhaul of the UK’s educational system. Years ago, Scotland had an excellent educational system, with reading and writing rates beyond most (if not all, at times) other countries. Over the last century, however, we’ve lost our edge, and other countries have surpassed our teaching. Some of our Universities still rank highly, but I fear for primary and secondary education.

Won’t somebody, please, think of the children?