Dumbed down education

My best friend was not educated in England until he was fourteen. When he came here he had already started learning calculus.

Upon joining an English school he joined a class learning about negative numbers and... (pause for effect) what happens when you add them to positive numbers. Multiplication of negative numbers was yet to come.

So is it any surprise that we have a catastrophic lack of university students from the UK doing Mathematics and those science subjects that rely on it? Is it surprising that the most commonly spoken first language in Sussex University's Engineering Department is Greek and not English?

Today the BBC has an article highlighting the difference between English and Chinese university entrance examinations. Of course we must remember that India and China have fewer university places so the question must be tougher, but that should be balanced against the very simple fact that the Chinese will have learnt complex mathematical problems at a younger age and so what English students would consider difficult would already be second nature for competent Chinese students.

Let's ramp up the level at which we educate our most promising and gifted students rather than wasting them and allowing them to become disruptive once they're bored.


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