Wednesday, 20 February 2008

How to rant about everything

I love to have a rant!

Is Britain stupid? Have we dubbed down education to the point of no return? On breakfast news this morning there was a bloke who'd dropped out of medical school after two years to persue a career in the music industry and a bloke who runs courses to make children more ready for university.
They were saying that there were too many students (1/5) dropping out and not finishing their courses and that the government was spending a fortune trying to get them to stay.

One viewer had got in touch to say there are too many people going to university and that we don't need all these people with mickey mouse degrees.

The bloke who ran the courses says children are not prepared for life at university and are not able to do independent learning.

Following a recent report that oral language tests are being abolished at GCSE level because they're too stressful, it should come as a surprise to no one that kids are not ready for university.

A teacher at schoool told us that O levels were the most stressful exams we'd have to take, that they were challenging us to prepare us for adult life. We were told that A levels were hard work but we would have to be prepared for Uni by working more independently and doing some background reading for subjests to help us.
This prepared us for life outside school. Real life is stressful, job interviews are stressful and going to Uni and having to work much more independently is essential. Why are these skills not taught now? Why is there so much reliance on coursework which can be completed at your leisure and even re-done if it's not right?

What we need to do is put the stress back into exams and get children working properly, so they have essays to write, lab reports to complete at home, and ensure they learn the basic note taking skills they'll need to take with them for lectures.

Course work does not measure learning. It measure the ability to cut and paste. Exams, without computers, books or outside help are the only real way of measuring your academic ability.

If you want to measure your practical ability in a subject then you do need to monitor this, but this can also be done in exam format. Basic O level biology practical involved a stint in a lad carrying out basic experiments, writing results and showing that you've learnt what the results meant and can do basic tasks without needing prompts or books to help.

Maybe we shouldn't be sending so many kids to university. We need to ensure that everyone has a choice and is given the help in finding the right career and not just insisting that 50% of people go away to University just because we think that's a good number.

What percentage of jobs require a degree? The man on the news this morning said about universities having to teach maths to engineers because they are so poorly equiped to so basic stuff. Surely this is a major flaw with the educational system if people can get to university on a course requiring good maths skills but lacking basic core skills.

Perhaps the fact that people do leave school unable to read and write shouldn't come as a shock to us. What should be shocking is that these are people encouraged to go to university.

Keeping children behind a year until they've mastered basic skills would be a good idea. What age would you do this at though? From the very beginning? So that no secondary school child is unable to read or write?

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